WoW, We’re into Advent already!

By ‘perseverance’ the snails reached Noah’s Ark! Imagine the frustration from seeing others whiz by you, but inch by inch they got there.

‘Resilience’ is one of many positive values esteemed and taught in our schools. Thomas Edison, before getting his celebrated electric light to work, had a workman declare the task impossible. “How often have you tried?” asked Edison, “2,000 times!” came the weary reply. “Go back and try 2,000 times more, you’ve only found 2,000 ways in which it cannot be done!” Edison is the man credited with the expression, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration!”

At times experience and ‘insight’ prompt wise ‘flight’ rather than full-hardy ‘fight’, the ability to let go of a pursuit, which will be damaging and dangerous. Many marriages and friendships are dashed on the rocks of obsession. But, in whatever field, to overcome difficulties and achieve success requires resilience and stick-ability, whatever. A vital ingredient for such perseverance is ‘Hope’. Without even a glimmer of hope it is very hard to continue. From painful personal experience, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn vividly described the awful sub-zero temperatures, cruelty and starvation of Russian Concentration Camps. He observed that it wasn’t the muscular, and seeming strong, who survived and overcame, but people with ‘Hope’. Here’s how St Paul put it,

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
(Romans 5:3-5)

Belief, Experience, Support and Truth can all help feed our hope of a future worth working, fighting and living for. For the atheist and mountaineer ‘Joe Simpson’, the belief that there is ‘no life beyond death’ drove him to cross ice-crevices and crawl, broken legged, an inch at a time five miles to safety, having fallen off a mountain to almost certain death. ‘Inch by inch’ progress for some school students is comparable to the painstaking progress towards passing their Maths exam, for another it may be filling in the umpteenth job application form and succeeding in an interview at the tenth attempt!

Without ‘Hope’ we are hopeless. Do the steps between now and Christmas (or 2023) appear too many, even unbearable, for you right now? I pray the wisdom and grace to prioritise our spending of time and money, and that the promised ‘Eternal Present’ of ‘God with us in Christ’ will nurture our resilience and the determination to serve, share and help other people come closer to the one in whom ‘the hopes and fears of all the years are met’.  Remember, a ‘snail’s pace is ok’, as long as you keep following the direction of your Hope. Happy Advent Adventures!