Most Americans who lived during the Second World War can still remember sitting beside the radio with family members, listening with rapt attention to the voice of a statesman with a British accent who did not know the meaning of the word surrender. Winston Churchill’s first statement as prime minister to the House of Commons, May 13, 1940, was this: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
In a unique speech to the London County Council, July 14, 1941, he referred to “a comradeship of suffering, of endurance.” He told Hitler and his Nazi forces: “We will have no truce of parley with you, or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst—and we will do our best.” And later, “We shall never turn from our purpose, however sombre the road, however grievous the cost.”
And one more: “‘Not in vain’ may be the pride of those who survived and the epitaph of those who fell.”
As Churchill’s words ring in our ears, we find that they actually echo what the Apostle Paul wrote 19 centuries earlier: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
As believers today, we must renew that same spirit of determination and commitment to faithfulness, to constancy, to endurance—no matter how sombre the road or how grievous the cost.