Rejoice and Endure

Psalm 25:1-10; Daniel 9:15-25a; 2 Timothy 4:1-5

But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.

Every time I read this little passage from 2 Timothy 4 and Paul’s charge to his protege, I am reminded that there are always two kinds of times. There are good times and there are bad times.

I too often forget that reality.

I tend to be a bit of an optimist and assume that good times are the standard. I have friends who are a bit more on the pessimistic side of the coin and they assume that bad times are the standard. But, the reality is somewhere in between, both good and bad times. We should expect both.

Beyond that, I need to recognize that in anything, good or bad, that it is never all good or all bad. No, the good and the bad are intermingled together. Often times we cannot pull them apart. An honest assessment of any situation is the both/and not the either/or.

As I continue to grow and mature I find that understanding that in any situation there are both good and bad to it, I am able to find contentment.

Paul is famous for saying that he has learned to be content in any situation. I am beginning to believe that contentment is rooted in his understanding that good and bad are intertwined. In other words he expects to experience both. When the good comes, he rejoices. When the bad comes he is not surprised but is able to endure.

I think enduring the bad is able to be done because we are confident that the good is coming.

One of my favorite bands, The String Cheese Incident have a song called “Good Times Are Around The Bend”. It’s a joyful reminder that though we may face something hard, there will be good at some point.

Life is not dualistic. It’s a constant continuum. It’s not either/or but both/and. Not good or bad. But, good and bad inseparably mixed together so that we may rejoice and endure.