PERSEVERENCE perhaps is best illustrated by a clip from Ludwing van Beethovens life. After one of his performances, several people were offering him their congratulations, when one woman commented, "I wish God had bestowed me with such genius." "It isn’t genius, madam, nor is it magic." Beethoven replied. "All you have to do is practice on your piano eight hours a day for 40 years."
Thomas Carlyle reminds us that, "The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong."
And listen to Ayn Rand, Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reachThe world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.
In the biblical sense, perseverance has to do with maintaining our Christian faith through the trying times of life, primarily in the context of persecution and temptation. We are to faithfully endure and remain steadfast in the face of opposition, attack and discouragement. 1 The primary source of power for endurance is prayer: Then Jesus told his disciples that they should always pray and not give up. (Lk. 18:1) (See Psa. 55:16; Lk. 11:5-8; Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6, 7; Col. 4:12)
Paul was a model of perseverance: We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to ustrial and torture, mockery and murderPeople are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly…in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating…I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Cor. 4:8b-10a; 6:4b, 5 Msg; 2 Tim 4:7,8 NIV)
Winston Churchills life epitomized perseverance. Born of aristocratic parents who gave him scant attention and no love, at age 8 he was shipped off to a private school which he hated. Throughout his childhood he was sickly, bullied, accident-prone, and poor at his studies. His adult life was characterized by meteoric success, interspersed with colossal failures. Shortly before World War II, Churchill endured ridicule and censorship as he stood alone among Britains leaders in warning of the gathering storm – Hitlers increasing threat in Europe. When Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia (1939), public opinion shifted, and Churchill again was elevated to power to lead his Country to victory against withering odds.
This extraordinarily diligent man, who would not give in to many bitter trials that would have forced most of us to surrender to a cruel and unrelenting fate, who had fought, been beaten, and risen again so many times to take his place among the great democratic leaders of world history, would, bythe unyielding courage of his example and convictions, lead his country through the most dangerous experience of its long history. 2 In a speech given to his old alma mater during the dark war years he said, Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never in nothing great or small, large or petty never give in, except to conviction of honor and good sense. And due in great part to the courage he inspired in others, neither would his country. 2
QUESTION: So, my fellow pilgrim, hows it going in the endurance/perseverance department? Whatever your challenge; whatever your trial, the Scriptures remind us, Don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. (Gal. 6:9 NLT). (See Rom 2:7; 2 Tim. 2:3; Jms. 1:25; 2 Pet. 1:10; Rev. 2:10, 25-28; 3:5; 21:7)
1 The Holman Bible Dictionary ;
2 Character is Destiny – John McCain, Random House, NY, 2005, pages 61 69 (excerpts)