2 Cor.6:4,5 – in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger…
Paul lived a prototype Christian life. His testimony of conversion and his referring to himself as chief of sinners displays the basic Pauline message, we are saved by grace alone through faith. In this passage we see the activity of grace in Paul as he lived victoriously in the midst of unthinkable resistance and persecution. He described it with a supernatural word that is translated endurance. Here is a description of this word by William Barclay.
“He begins with one triumphant word of the Christian life–endurance (hupomone). It is untranslatable. It does not describe the frame of mind which can sit down with folded hands and bowed head and let a torrent of troubles sweep over it in passive resignation. It describes the ability to bear things in such a triumphant way that it transfigures them. Chrysostom has a great panegyric on this hupomone. He calls it “the root of all goods, the mother of piety, the fruit that never withers, a fortress that is never taken, a harbour that knows no storms” and “the queen of virtues, the foundation of right actions, peace in war, calm in tempest, security in plots.” It is the courageous and triumphant ability to pass the breaking-point and not to break and always to greet the unseen with a cheer. It is the alchemy which transmutes tribulation into strength and glory.”
We are currently in a difficult time with a pandemic effecting the whole world. Reminds me of something Jesus said about the end of days. He said “men’s hearts would be failing them for fear”. If Paul was right and this supernatural version of endurance is working in us, our very lives will be used during this crisis to reach the lost living in fear.
John Wesley tells the story of his returning to England from the American colonies when his ship was ravaged by a storm. Some Moravian missionaries were singing and worshipping the Lord with their joy unfazed by the storm. Their testimony in the storm ultimately led to Wesley’s conversion. We are all living in a storm. The way we live now flows out of who we are. If you are in Christ now is your time to shine.