Lent 8 ~ Endure for a While

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So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.   ~  1 Peter 1: 6

 

          This morning, part of this verse appeared in Susan Branch’s Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead

          I had been seeking Jesus’ answer for something important to our family, and to read that verse right at that moment did me a world of good.

          So, I understandably drooped when I saw the rest of the verse,

…even though you must endure many trials for a little while

          It’s just not in me to love my trials, patience and endurance one of my many sticking points. But I grudgingly admit that joy is sweetened only by trials endured in the right spirit.

          I saw this demonstrated in a small way some years back. Most of us had been so involved in various endeavours to eject the ruling party in our country. We took our politicians’ campaigns into hostile and indifferent heartlands, working feverishly, doing whatever we could to win every vote. And when we finally won, the joy we experienced was indescribable. For the first time, we were united as a country, ecstatic in finally sharing a single bloodline of true brotherhood.

          But one of my colleagues had little to do with that struggle. She had always had a weakness for gossip and news that singed the ear, and in the tense weeks in the lead up to the election, instead of trying to do something meaningful, however small, she took it upon herself to dig up nuggets of unsavoury, empty news about the townspeople’s political affiliations. While it didn’t detract from our efforts, it did nothing to help either. Yet, despite seeing the work that was being done and how much was still left to be done, it didn’t move her to try and contribute in a more positive way.

          When the sun finally rose for this land, beyond a polite smile, I found I could shared none of my joy with her. None of the excited analysis, not a single victory anecdote – simply because it felt flat to do so with someone who had not really been a part of your struggle. We couldn’t talk statistics or political demographics – her eyes would glaze over, waiting for me to stop, to bring in some yellow angle.

          Somehow, she got to know of the big dinner I managed to cook for the family as a celebration. Eager not to be left out, she went out with some other likeminded friends of hers for a celebration dinner, and the next day, proceeded to inform me about it. But there was no masking it for either of us. The emptiness of it was evident. Not having worked for it, she could barely scratch the surface of the national jubilance.

          That victory did so much for so many of us. Although many returned to old prisons and old problems after that night of joy, we did so with the fire of hope burning fiercely within us. We loved better and we forgave easily. That fire changed the way we worked and lived, because we knew that even if there was none yet in some of our homesteads, there was wonderful joy ahead.

          For eschewing the call of the struggle and preferring the languid ease of a ringside seat, my friend, sadly, was a stranger to that glorious fire of hope. Hence, in a very short while, she returned to her bitter and vicious roots, caught up once more in pettiness and trivialities.

          Tomorrow is a momentous day for our family – and for thousands of others across the country. Thinking about my friend and what she lost out on by staking her claim on joy without earning it, the second half of the verse – you must endure many trials for a little while – loses its tiny sting. Because my heart now knows that joy is sweetened only by trials endured in the spirit of hope and faith.

          I may be a woman of little faith, but I’m not worried, for God has enough for me. By His grace, I will reach that summit of wonderful joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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