Posted by: Don Linnen | 30 November 2018

The Hard Part

1 Corinthians 13 is a favored bible passage read at many weddings. It’s the “love” text that many starry-eyed people claim to believe. I’m not sure they really think about the hard part in the middle.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

There’s that word “endure,” a synonym for “persevere.” It applies to all of life, not just to love. A Jack Miller devotional in November contends the Corinthians passage begins with patience and ends with perseverance, as if to say, “Don’t quit in-between.”

You start a race fresh. You grind it out in the middle. You end it happily tired and satisfied – especially if you’ve prepared. If the contest affects yourself or others, it may be more important. If you win a seven-overtime football game, there may be more positive consequences – for the time being. 

But a 5K race or a 5-hour football game are just short simulations for the time from our birth to death. The hard part is somewhere in the middle. The first 20 years. The middle 60 years. The last 5 years. Don’t quit in between. 

A recent tweet by Jack Gross listed 10 Qualities All Successful People Share (That Have Nothing to Do With Talent).  Those qualities are:

  1. Be on time
  2. Work ethic
  3. Effort
  4. Body language
  5. Energy
  6. Attitude
  7. Passion
  8. Being coachable
  9. Doing extra
  10. Being prepared

Good stuff. Maybe click bait. Nevertheless, a worthy list. But I don’t see endure or persevere anywhere on the list.

I don’t see persist, continue, carry on, go on, keep going, struggle on, hammer away, be determined, follow through, keep at it, press on, be tenacious, stand fast, hold on, go the distance, stay the course, plod on, stop at nothing, leave no stone unturned.

Can you really do the 10 things to succeed on that list when the going gets tough – or boring – or uncomfortable – or unhappy? Can you do those things when you suffer?

The very good news of the gospel tells us to rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint those who receive God’s love.

There will be a grind. A word to reflect how you handle it needs to be added to your list for success.


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