Each day our Pastor will post a message to keep us connected while the Church is closed.
Day 17, March 30, 2020
“Inch by Inch”
I just finished reading The Nightingale, written by Kristin Hannah. It is a beautiful story…set in a terrible time…the occupation of France during WWII. Before the Nazis enter France and begin the occupation, there is confidence that all will be well, that the French soldiers will provide protection and keep everyone safe. The idea of the crisis hitting home, in France, well…
That could never happen here…When it does happen
Surely it will not last very long…When it lasts a while
Surely it won’t be bad…When it becomes bad, very bad
This is disorienting…this is frustrating…this is difficult…this is scary…this is discouraging…this is depressing, and finally an attitude that…
This will never end.
How sweet it was in reading this story to come to the time of liberation, of the occupation ending, of prisoners of war being released. But reading the book, it felt like that day would never come.
This is all by way of saying I felt the wind go out of my sails for a moment yesterday, when it was announced the quarantine has been extended until the end of April…or rather, at least until the end of April. I’m not quite there yet, but a part of me heard the news and said, “This will never end.”
Years ago, a friend told me this pithy statement that I have quoted often:
Yard by yard it’s hard…but inch by inch it’s a cinch.
In many things in life, this has proven to be an accurate assessment. In other words, you do not eat an elephant in a single bite.
But today, inch by inch does not feel like a cinch. It is starting to feel like it will never end.
One of my favorite poems uses the word inch, but instead of inch by inch it’s a cinch, the poem uses the phrase “painful inch.” Sometimes to advance even one inch requires great perseverance, patience, and sometimes the endurance of pain. The poem must have been written in a time of war, for it speaks of soldiers and battles. Although the poem is honest about the painful inch, it ultimately holds out hope that there is a victory coming, a day of deliverance, if we can just maintain our faith and stay strong. I offer you this poem in the hopes that knowing our God is with us will help as we advance by what at times feels to be “inch by painful inch” on our journey of faith.
Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth (By Arthur Hugh Clough)
Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes comes, comes in the light
In front the sun climbs slow, so slowly,
But westward look, the land is bright
Another way of saying inch by inch is to say, Day by Day. Knowing our God is with us, always with us, may we say together, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
With the love of Christ,