I heard many great chapel sermons in my college years. I can tell you the gist of many of them if you jog my memory. My notebooks are filled with scribbled notes from wise men, and many of their exact quotes. But there are only a handful of quotes that have taken up residence in my heart. Without notes, my mind plays them verbatim.
One is from D.A. Carson: “Stick that in your theological pipe and smoke it!” Before I finished laughing, I knew I’d never forget it.
Another, though, stays with me for different reasons. For one thing, my mind replays it in Sinclair Ferguson’s rich brogue. He could have been reading the nutritional facts off the bag of reduced-fat cheese puffs, and it would’ve sounded profound and lovely. But I also think it stuck with me because I feel its truth more every year: “It is a glorious thing to remain standing.”
Now more than ever, I value standing because life has proven that standing is not a given. I also value standing because I have stood beside people and marvelled at their steadfastness. I knew pieces of their stories and I had an idea of the things that were pulling them down, battering them- and yet, they stood. I have a greater appreciation of how much faith and will and strength, and- underneath and above and through it all- how much grace, it takes to stand. Endurance is a quiet victory, but not a small one.