By Rev. Dr. Brian Gigee
“ENDURANCE: Going the Distance”
“We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.” – 2 Corinthians 4:9-10
And here we are. Two weeks of a sequestered essential life and now the prospect of at least another month of life as we have never lived before. How are you? Weary? Wired? Confused? Well, none of us in the last 100 years has lived like this and we are talking, as well, about things we’ve never spoken of before. Our hearts and minds are numb. But, as a people of faith, we are encouraged. We have been here before and there are many lessons learned and stories told about how we have endured.
Remember? Noah and his family outlasted the forty day and forty night onslaught of rain. Moses outdueled Pharaoh to gain Israel’s freedom. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Joshua fit the battle of Jericho before the walls came tumbling down. God tamed the lions while Daniel prayed. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego walked out of the fiery furnace.
The devil lost a battle of words and power on a mountain of temptation. Well, frankly, Satan never had a chance. Saul of Tarsus overcame his blindness becoming the one we now call, St. Paul. The early church outlasted the persecution of Roman rule. This list goes on in the Bible and in life. Kind of like when Ray Kinsella and Terrance Mann heard the voice, “go the distance” and then drove across the country to fetch Doc (aka “Moonlight”) Graham to play baseball in an Iowa cornfield. And then there was the Great War and WW2 and we’re still sending soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan. Yeah, we get ‘endurance.’ It’s not the victory… it’s just the way we get there.
St. Augustine of Hippo said it this way…
“Who wishes for troubles and difficulties? Lord, you command them to be endured, not to be loved. No one loves what they endure, though they love to endure. For the rejoicing comes at the end of the enduring.”
See? It’s not a new thing. It’s just our thing. It’s our turn and looking back helps us as we lean forward… and that truly is a matter of faith!
Face it, we’re all in this together. It doesn’t matter if our grandparents came from a different country long ago. All the countries are being impacted by COVID-19. It doesn’t matter if you are a Rangers/Cowboys/Mavs fan or you prefer the Astros/Texans/Rockets. The Houston Chronicle SPORTS page went silent today. No news. No page. The virus sports no colors. It doesn’t matter if you voted red or blue and that your voting preference is purple or whether you’d rather get your groceries from Kroger or H.E.B. What is in the air shops where it wants and doesn’t care how we vote.
But, what is sure is this… we all need to work together. That’s what makes us the same. We all need to listen to the medical staff voices and our public leaders. We will all need to go the distance so that most of us will endure to tell about this moment a long time from now.
Today is April 1 and there’s no foolin’ here. Events and opportunities along with life are not being cancelled. Just postponed. So, I pray for you… I pray for those on the front lines of the battle. Join me please. Faith matters. It does.
Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, the pastor at New Life Lutheran Church at 3521 E. Orange St. in Olde Towne Pearland. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/Friend2theRabbi Your comments and/or questions can be sent to [email protected].