On Thursdays, we will now be alternating between Bible studies and prayer meetings. This coming week will be the Bible study, and we’re up to Romans 15. I’ve been reading this chapter in preparation and have been struck by some of the words in the opening verses:

* endurance
* encouragement
* hope
* unity
* joy
* peace
* glory

Some of these are ‘classic’ Christian words, but I suppose the thing that challenges me the most when I think about those ‘big’ words is how they are linked to that opening word, ‘endurance’. ‘Endurance’ (the capacity to last or withstand wear and tear, the ability to last or continue, despite stress, anxiety or other adverse conditions) never seems quite as glamorous as encouragement, hope, joy or peace, does it?! But apparently it’s key to having hope: “through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” (Rom 15:4) God is also the one who gives us endurance and encouragement (Rom 15:5). Other versions translate this word as ‘patience’, which in Galatians is listed as a fruit of the Spirit.

So I am reminded once again that perseverance and patience, endurance and stickability are just as important in reaching the finishing post as the other characteristics of faith which often seem more glamorous and attractive to me!