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What do you when the pressure is applied? How do you respond? Are you prone to giving up? Or do you keep going despite the difficulty?
I'll be the first to admit perseverance wasn't always in my vocabulary.
Nor did I actually want it to be. I figured as long as I tried a "little" that was good for me.
I used to think hard was ok (that's makes you a stronger person). But too hard? No can do! I didn't want any parts of it.
If things got too hard I'd immediately start to doubt it's godly authenticity, saying things like, “This can't be from the Lord."
I presume most of us are familiar with the saying, "Nothing worth having comes easy.”
I find weight in that.
Noah was told to build an ark to house not only him and his family, but two of all living creatures, male and female. He was also instructed to take every kind of food that was to be eaten and store it away for him and them. (Genesis 6)
Esther, a jewish woman, and queen to King Xerxes hid her nationality and family background until the genocide of her people was enforced by Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite (a man in which the king honored).
She, along with her attendants, and all the jewish people in Susa fasted for three days before she approached the king's throne (which was illegal to do without being summoned). She later went on to make her request known and expose the plan of Haman to the king. Ultimately, she was able to help save her people from genocide. (Book of Esther)
Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples with a kiss for thirty pieces of silver. Our Lord and Savior was a sinless and blameless man, yet He allowed them to spit on him, mock him, flog him, and beat him. He laid down His life and was crucified for us! (The Gospels)
Some translations reveal the time of day disclosing that our God hung stretched out on the cross that He didn't deserve for hours.
Can you imagine how hard those moments were for them? Yet, they all persevered!
All of them kept going.
All of them trusted the Lord and were able to press through the pain and hardship they were experiencing.
I don't think perseverance is easy, but I do think it's necessary.
Our Savior already told us that here on earth we will have many trials and sorrows but to take heart for He has overcome the world. (John 16:33)
If we are to take heart or as it says in the King James Version, "be of good cheer" then we have to have a heart that perseveres.
We have to be dedicated and determined to serve God in spite of the many tribulations we will face.
I know sometimes it feels like we're casually jogging toward Jesus on a nice summer day then other moments we're soldiers in basic training, mud crawling in the rain.
Either way? Let's keep moving!
Let us NOT give up but keep running toward the prize.
Our reward will surely be worth it!
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 NIV
Photos courtesy of: Kai Bell