We can persevere!

“No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn.”


Those words of Hal Borland came to mind not so much about the season but about the COVID-19 pandemic.


I’m not suggesting the end of the pandemic or of social distancing is at hand. Rather, I mention the words of that beloved poem because they speak
of perseverance. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t give out.


The Bible has many examples of perseverance. One is Jacob who, you may recall, inaugurated the World Wrestling Federation. If you don’t remember, it’s in Genesis 32.


Three different times this strange story stresses the length of the wrestling match. All night, it says, Jacob and this unknown wrestler scuffled and scrapped, romped and rumbled.


Earlier in the story, we are told Jacob was already tired. After this all-night
wrestling match, he must have been thoroughly drained, completely depleted, wholly fatigued. He was, as they say, done in and worn out.


Isn’t that the way with some of our most difficult times? They wear us down and down and down, sometimes over long stretches of time, until we are exhausted.


That’s the way I often feel these days. The quarantining. The changed routines – as in every routine. The deaths. The bizarre and immature political posturing.


Everything.


To say the least, it is … Just. So. Exhausting.


My grandmother, whom I called Nana and loved dearly, died the day after Christmas in 2005. Preaching at her funeral was very difficult. Certainly, I was honored to do it; certainly, I felt God’s presence through it; certainly, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But it was quite difficult.


Let me tell you this, though. While dealing with Nana’s death was difficult
around the time she died, it was not nearly as painful as dealing with separation in the years since she died. The pain of the separation – the inability to pick up the phone to call her or drive a few hours to see her – is sometimes exhausting.


I’ve counseled women and men after unwanted divorces who’ve expressed similar things. One woman tearfully told me, “I can survive the thought of being divorced, but I’m not sure if I can survive the thought of being left. Every day, I am reminded that I was left.”


Whether Jacob was defeated by the unknown wrestler isn’t the emphasis of this story. The emphasis, rather, is on the exhausting nature of the wrestling match.


Jacob didn’t quit. He persevered.


What could we learn from this that might help in these days?


For starters, we can take hope in the fact that no matter how dark things
get, there is always the promise of light.


Again, I’m not trying to rush us through this critically important time and suggest that we try to return to life as before the coronavirus.


What I am saying, though, is that we can persevere. We can double down. We can care for each other and for ourselves.


“No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn.”

Nathan Day Wilson is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Twitter: @nathandaywilson.

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