Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat

It was May 13, 1940, and Sir Winston Churchill had just replaced Neville Chamberlain as the Prime Minister of Great Britain as war loomed over Europe. In his first speech to the House of Commons he uttered these famous words:

I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many long months of toil and struggle.
You ask what is our policy. I will say, it is to wage war with all our might, with all the strength that God can give us, to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime.
You ask what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory however long and hard the road may be. For without victory there is no survival.”

These words seem strange to our ears today. We live in a world where sacrifice is defined as having to wait in traffic, or having the cable TV go on the blink for an hour or two. Our desire for a life of ease is reinforced by TV evangelists that tell us that there is “a conqueror inside of us” and if we only believe, sickness can be banished, and poverty eliminated (if we send a “seed” offering to their ministry, of course). However, this seems far removed from the battle scene described by Paul:

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10)

Yes, life is full of “blood, toil, tears and sweat” as we battle “the world, the flesh and the Devil,” but it is also true that Christ said, “in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

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3 Comments

  1. Danny Gilliam said,

    May 13, 2009 at 4:56 PM

    We remember the words of John in the Revelation, “Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”

  2. Branson said,

    May 14, 2009 at 7:52 PM

    I often wonder sometimes if believers from other parts of the globe become frustrated with American Christians. We are made fun of because we don’t watch a particular program or drink a certain drink, and we feel “persecuted.” Then we look at believers globally who are daily having their lives threatened, enduring inhumane prisons, and trying to avoid the next spray of bullets. They are being persecuted; we are merely inconvenienced.

    • cliftonr said,

      May 14, 2009 at 8:11 PM

      A friend of mine was teaching a series of Bible courses in the Ukraine (I am pretty sure it was the Ukraine) and noticed a group of photographs on the back wall, and asked, “Who are those men?” A church member replied, “Those are our pastors who went to prison for preaching the Word of God.” My friend thought, “And they want me to teach them?” We don’t have a clue what it means to truly suffer for the Faith.


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