Motivational posters define Tenacity as “the ability to hang on when letting go appears most attractive.” Nothing illustrates this more vividly than the experience of our British brethren during the early days of World War II when they stood seemingly alone against the might and fury of the Third Reich in the Blitz. What seems so simple when quoted on a poster with a stirring image in a corporate boardroom is quite a different matter when the enemies are deadly and adversities devastating.
Speaking to his alma-mater, the Harrow School, in October, 1941 Winston Churchill distilled the lesson of Britain’s remarkable providential deliverance with iconic speech.
You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination. But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period… surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished…
Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.
But what do we do when our enemy seems to be none other than the Lord, Himself? When all the providences in our lives seem to be frowning providences, when the promises of God seem to go unfulfilled and prayers unanswered, or worse still when God seems silent. Genesis 32 chronicles the return of Jacob to his homeland. Leaving his in-laws in hostility, he returns home to the uncertainty of his offended brother whose parting words were breathed out in murderous threat. He is between a rock and a hard place. Yet the Lord has told him to go.
As Jacob contemplates what is ahead, he faces a new adversary – the Lord, himself. Jacob wrestles with the Lord throughout the night. He cannot prevail, but he refuses to let go, saying, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” Jacob is brash, yet tenacious. How tenacious are we when life seems to be a lot like wrestling with a God over whom we can never prevail? How willing are we to hang on to Him when it seems easier to let go?
Join us this Lord’s Day, February 4, as we examine Genesis 32 and consider our response when God seems to be our adversary. We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock. Click here for directions.
Come with a friend you and join us for fellowship and conversation. We look forward to seeing you there.