“But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:24,25 NASB)
Once you head out on the highway to heaven, with Map in hand as the Holy Spirit leads you ever upward and onward, sooner or later you will hit a stretch in the road where something deep inside you tires to the point that you very well may just want to quit. It’s usually at this precise moment that we find the sixth sign on the Journey – the sign of Perseverance.
And know this –when you find this sign it will be your defining moment. This is where the road diverges and only those who are true go forward. This very well might be why so much of the New Testament is focused upon seeing that you safely navigate through this juncture enroute to your ultimate destination.
Jesus said that His followers would receive His word into “an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance” (Luke 8:15). Paul assured us that we could, and indeed should “exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulations bring about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope” (Romans 5:3,4).
Some might think of perseverance as a sort of trudge through the sludge, without much cause for celebration until the ordeal is finally over. But this is not what it means at all! The Bible says, “we are strengthened with might by His power unto perseverance with joyfulness” (Colossians 1:11). One translations puts it this way, “His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy” (CEV).
The Greek word for perseverance means “cheerful endurance.” I love the way The Message puts it, “We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul–not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy.” (Col.1:11).
Life is filled with the inspiring stories of individuals who persevered through great trials and came forth with extraordinary achievements.
In his book Pursuit of Excellence, Ted Engstrom writes –
“Cripple him, and you have a Sir Walter Scott. Lock him in a prison cell, and you have a John Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington. Raise him in abject poverty and you have an Abraham Lincoln. Strike him down with infantile paralysis, and he becomes Franklin Roosevelt. Burn him so severely that the doctors say he’ll never walk again, and you have a Glenn Cunningham — who set the world’s one-mile record in 1934. Deafen him and you have a Beethoven. Have him or her born black in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you have a Booker T. Washington, a Marian Anderson, a George Washington Carver. Call him a slow learner, “retarded,” and write him off as uneducable, and you have an Albert Einstein.”
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”(James 1:2-4)
You’ve come too far to back off now. You got to hang in there like a hair in a biscuit in a cheap restaurant!