Endurance through generations – hope through faith stands the tests of timeEndurance through generations – hope through faith stands the tests of time
Enduring through difficult times can look different for different people depending on our age and life circumstance. For some it will be the pressures of studies or work, for others it may be unmet desires for our family, dealing with broken relationships, family breakdown, health issues or bereavement. None of us are immune to life’s disappointments against our own expectations measured against what the world tells us life should be like.Enduring through difficult times can look different for different people depending on our age and life circumstance. For some it will be the pressures of studies or work, for others it may be unmet desires for our family, dealing with broken relationships, family breakdown, health issues or bereavement. None of us are immune to life’s disappointments against our own expectations measured against what the world tells us life should be like.
SNAC women who attended the recent one day conference on ‘Our Hope in Perseverance’ were reminded through two morning bible talks from Hebrews (11 & 12) and Exodus (19 & 20) of how many people of faith before us have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds in all types of Old Testament calamaties: crossing the Red Sea, felling the walls of Jericho, shutting mouths of lions to name but a few. There were also insightful modern history lessons as we were reminded of the strength in faith demonstrated by women such as Susannah Wesley (1669-1742) and Katharina Zell (1497/8-1562) – both Minister’s wives around the time of the Reformation and during times of real persecution and physical trial. Through the wonders of modern technology we were encouraged by video reflections from women of our current time, including our own Nora Cox and different women serving as CMS missionaries of their perspectives of enduring through hope.
We read about suffering for Christ and were reminded that all those who want to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). To prepare for enduring the race of life, we are instructed to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us (Hebrews 12:1). We were reminded that we are called to endure suffering as discipline from a father who loves us so that we can be trained by it in order to yield the fruit of peace and righteousness and share in his inheritance (Heb12:10-11). We were encouraged to ‘strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees’ – by persevering in godliness (v12). We were warned not to be like Esau who sold his birthright in exchange for one meal (v16). We were also warned that with great privilege, comes great responsibility (v25-29).
The day included the choice of four afternoon workshops on godliness, suffering, serving together and loving others which were ably led by our SNAC sisters and involved a combination of panel presentations and discussions. It was a day of encouragement as we sang, prayed and were both challenged, comforted and nourished by God’s word.
On the topic of nourishment, we enjoyed fellowship with each other over a delicious morning tea (or for some, breakfast) and lunch. A huge thanks to all who served to make this a wonderful day of learning and fellowship with women of all ages from across all SNAC congregations, in particular to Avril Lonsdale and Mathea Yeung for their faithful teaching. While I couldn’t help but wonder if Esau’s meal included fig gelato (my personal weakness in the lunch break), the take home was definitely the sweet reassurance of our shared hope of a peaceful eternity enveloped in the love of God through faith in his promises. I was encouraged in being reminded that perseverance through life’s struggles has been the challenge of generations dating back to Old Testament times, yet our hope through faith is the common factor we share with those who have gone before us. The Bible and history teaches us that while our earthly lives may be shaken at times, only God’s love will stand the test of time by putting our faith and hope in Him and by keeping our eyes on ‘the prize’. While our struggles may be different across the centuries, our hope in Christ remains the same.