Monday, February 7, 2011

The Blessedness of a Legacy of Longsuffering

“The day may dawn when fair play, love for one’s fellow-men, respect for justice and freedom, will enable tormented generations to march forth serene and triumphant from the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair.”

~Winston Churchill,

Final Speech to the House of Commons, 1955.

Most people don’t reckon it to be a good thing to suffer; nobody enjoys it and most fear it. Yet isn’t it peculiar how it softens people, preparing them for the burdens of increased responsibility?

There’s another realm those with a legacy of longsuffering grow into—they become even more authentic when the pressure comes on. There’s no hint of a fake put-on or the frustrated guise of someone coming apart at the edges. They have a way of meeting maddening challenges and deadlines whilst retaining, even enhancing, the esteem of others. They inspire effortlessly it seems.

People love to work for these; those who’ve been taken to stark, unjust, hellish life—for a time that seemed to have ‘no purpose’... how life turns for the favour of these!

Good News for the Downhearted

This is hopeful news for the person treading neck deep in the muck of their hellhole.

There’s no telling where it ends for some people. No end in sight becomes the pattern for the many in their due time—and some for years—as they learn to cling to some invisible hope.

God is that invisible hope—a true hope that works in and through the trials of longsuffering. We know it to be a true hope via the fact that despairing is not the place or destiny for these; faith becomes the ‘good air’ beneath their wings.

“Never Despair”

In Winston Churchill, hardly a better leader of people in wartime ever existed. Casting a glance at world affairs in 1940 shows us just how tenuous it was politically. Hitler’s tyranny—if not with the help of international allies to evil—threatened the freedom of the entire world and it was Churchill that stood for the time and razed the despicable path.

Anyone observing the character of such leadership cannot help but notice the above phenomenon—a leader fashioned by his own longsuffering to bridge a nation’s. As the people of Britain rose to the gargantuan challenge of their time, urged, cajoled and dragged along by their leader, they grew past the challenges, surmounting them.

It didn’t so much spiritually fatigue them than it conformed them into a supremely capable people. Their belief swelled.

As we keep this issue front of mind—one of never despairing in turmoil—fatigue for the suffering becomes unnecessary. God flushes the heart full of hope for the daily battles that are overcome and the victories are not achieved in one’s own strength. It’s an ideal that bends our nose to the wheel, somehow with energy for the prevailing minute, and focus is saved for that minute.

The God-vision is beyond us—but it’s oh so believable.

It leaves the incumbent with sufficient legacy to last the entire age.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: via Schumacher College.

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