Updated: Jul 27, 2022
“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8 NIV)
Aren’t you tired of talking about it yet? Like most of us who are stuck at home in these pandemic times, I’ve been doing a lot more virtual meetings. I’ve had writers critique groups, Bible studies, and happy hours over now-ubiquitous video chat platforms. In one of the latter, we congratulated ourselves after realizing we had talked for ten whole minutes without mentioning coronavirus!
But really, there’s little else to talk about. Most of us are under “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders, and the rest of us are worried about how to stay safe while working. There are no sports scores to look at—literally none. Everything from Little League to the Olympics have been canceled or postponed. Most big movies that were scheduled to come out have been delayed until theaters can reopen. Broadway is eerily silent. There is nothing happening except the attempts or lack thereof to get all the supplies we need to get out of quarantine.
Now, I am clearly privileged if too much family togetherness and not enough to talk about are the worst things that happen to me during a global pandemic. But I never expected how much perseverance it would take to live through uncertain times. A vaccine is at least a year away, and we don’t know how long it will take to find a treatment or enough tests so that we can start easing the restrictions. We just have to wait.
Looking up verses on perseverance surprised me, because I saw 1 Corinthians 13:7. It’s part of “the love chapter” that’s usually read in happy contexts like weddings. Yet there it was, right along with “Love never fails” (verse 8). Our current, unprecedented circumstances require a lot of perseverance, but love doesn’t just persevere. It protects—which is why we’re staying home. It trusts—in our leaders, trying to do the right thing, and ultimately in God, who is in control. And it hopes—for a time when we won’t have to do this anymore.
That’s not the only place in Scripture where Paul links hope and perseverance. In Romans 5:3-4, Paul writes, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” He says that perseverance produces hope. The act of waiting in faith is what gives us the strength to not just wish for better times but wait for them expectantly (and patiently—Romans 8:25—though I’m still working on that), knowing that God is faithful.