Wednesday Words – Endurance
November 13, 2019
Pr. Paul Cannon
But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.
- Luke 21:18-19
I’ve nearly broken my neck on about five separate occasions this week. The snow accumulates on the bottom of my boots, and when I walk in to our three-season porch, I may as well be on an ice rink. And that doesn’t include the slips from the ice that has formed on our garage floor, the driving hazards, and all the other unforeseen challenges that winter brings.
Except it’s not even winter yet! Aren’t we still in fall? I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had with people who have expressed the same sentiment: It’s going to be a long winter… and I’m already sick of it. Considering that it started in October this year, I have to agree.
As Midwesterners, we pride ourselves on being tough. We’ve seen our fair share of winters and we’re no strangers to the cold. But the prospect of a longer than usual winter is daunting – exhausting even. We know what’s coming and we can (and will) endure it – it’s just a matter of preparing our hearts and minds for the prospect of it.
That’s the message that Jesus has for you today as well. Struggles are ahead. Jesus confirms it.
But amidst it all, “not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.”
The text on Sunday is bleak. There will be famine and war and earthquakes - plagues, persecutions and prisons. It’s not prophesy; it’s inevitability. Like winter, sometimes you need to prepare your hearts and minds for the prospect of it.
It’s a counter-cultural narrative, when you think about it. Usually, when somebody’s trying to sell you something, they assure you that their product is going relieve all your worldly woes. Buy this product … follow these ten steps … all your worries will fade away (for the low, low price of … ).
But Jesus is different. Jesus isn’t trying to sell you anything. Jesus doesn’t deny that bad things are coming. He just gives you a way to endure it. Faith isn’t meant to take away your problems (regardless of what prosperity gospel preachers will tell you), faith is how you endure them.
With faith, your problems might not get any easier, but your ability to handle them grows. And while faith won’t wish away the snow, it might give you the strength to make it through the win