Have you ever had to draw a boundary with someone you love that was excruciatingly difficult? The kind where you feel you have been cornered at last – and you have no other option but to cut them off somehow? The kind where their choices and/or behavior have tied your hands so that you are no longer able to reach to them, help them or have relationship any more? It’s a difficult place to find oneself. I think we sometimes live in denial that it is a real place because it is so painful to have to arrive there. But the Bible is full of stories of this kind of extreme breaking of relationship. Isaiah chapter one describes the raw emotion of just such a scenario.

It is an excellent Bible study technique to take special note of the first occurrence of a given word in Scripture. Often many clues to the hidden wisdom of certain concepts can be ferreted out by exploring their first use very carefully. I was reminded of this as I read Luke Chapter One today. Let’s take “Jesus 101” Class together, shall we? You know the textbook – and the tuition is free!

Life is not for the faint of heart. Although it is not a Bible word there is a certain RESILIENCE that is necessary to successfully meet the intrinsic challenges of life with a gracious and enduring spirit. The way the Bible describes it is “patient endurance,” “steadfastness”, “constancy” or “persevering to the end.” And that is what we are exhorted to do – To meet trials with smiles (figuratively, at least). Job is the paramount example of the struggle to do so.