“Your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer”.
2 Cor 1:6 NIV
At one stage in World War II hostilities had come to a fever pitch in the European theatre of war. One side was well dug in, but the enemy was advancing towards their position. The general of the defending army knew that the enemy’s advance was going to lead to a really tough battle. He gave instructions to his troops that went something like this: “The enemy is about to try to dislodge us from our well-defended positions. I ask that you resist them with every determination and courage you can muster. Fortify your positions so that when the enemy attacks he will encounter an iron peg deeply hammered into a block of ice”.
It was a graphic and masterful image. It depicted in modern day terms what the apostle expected of his new converts in the city of Corinth. Testing and trials there would be. Suffering and opposition would assail them. Leaders of other faiths would disparage and harass them. The “half-Christians, half-Jews” would come with their false teaching. They needed to exhibit patient endurance of the “iron peg” variety for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we need to as well. As someone once observed, “Satan never sleeps”. Evil is as active and determined to undermine the Christian faith as much today as it has ever been. Stand firm in the face of ridicule and scepticism, doubt and difficulty. Do not be deterred by clever-sounding arguments from those who oppose the faith. A century ago the world-renowned German theologian, Karl Barth, asked what best expressed the Christian gospel, replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”. Adopt that attitude.
Lord, let your Holy Spirit produce patient endurance in me.