This has been the word of the month. I am constantly amazed when something gets whispered to me and then God continues to affirm it over and over and over again. I feel like every book I pick up talks about perseverance. Pretty Pinterest quotes sent to me display the word. It shows up in my Bible studies, my leisurely reading, the radio, my podcasts … the word is everywhere. Chelsea, keep persevering.
What does that even mean?
The word first came to me in a study that said – “Between any trial and that blessing that comes from that trial, there is a pathway I must walk – that pathway is perseverance.” The book continued by saying “Perseverance means having an urgency, firmness, resolve and consistency.”
I felt like that definition wasn’t strong enough, so I turned to my good friend, Mr. Dictionary, and dove in for a richer meaning.
Perseverance: Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.
We are all faced with difficulties, obstacles and discouragement. Maybe you share in our struggle of infertility, facing a miscarriage or another negative cycle. Or maybe you carry the struggle of finding a job and wanting to provide for your family, but continue to be told “no thank you” … maybe it’s striving for a better diet and exercise routine, wanting to push past unhealthy habits and begin a lifestyle as a healthier you. There are so many obstacles in life, too many to list. And more often than not, just when we feeling like we are getting ahead, something strikes us back down. A bad day, a curt word, another failure, seeing someone else succeed … and you just want to give up. Don’t.
Storms suck. Some days they never seem like they are going to end. I get mad that God isn’t a genie who magically answers all my prayers in my timing. It’s so frustrating when you are waiting and discouraged and nothing seems to change. What do we do?
Pastor Craig Groeschel gave a sermon back in April about being in the storm and the importance of persevering. He shared this verse in James that I love –
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Here’s the thing – it’s easy to give up. It’s easy to give into the voices believing that it will never happen, you are not good enough, you don’t have that strength, you can’t. What’s harder is pushing through the doubt, the struggle, the exhaustion and remaining persistent despite what “logic” says.
I believe that what God has placed on your heart – whether it’s a dream, a calling, a passion, or a purpose – He will be faithful to provide it. It may not be in our timing (in fact, it often isn’t in our timing), but it will be perfect when it comes. We don’t always feel like believing that but as Charles Parkhurst says “We have taken a great step towards maturity when we trust God without relying on our feelings.”
Perseverance persists when it doesn’t make sense. Perseverance continues to push forward when circumstances and past failures shout that you can’t. Perseverance doesn’t stop trying, doesn’t stop hoping, and doesn’t stop acting. Perseverance is lifting up the same prayer request day in and day out and pleading for an answer – maybe for one week, six months, 2 years, or 15 years. Perseverance sets your faith as your foundation and pursues your heart’s calling no matter how many times you feel struck down and defeated.
So how do we persevere when we have hardly anything left in us? Charles Spurgeon says “Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when you wake in the morning look to Him; when thou lie down at night look to Him. Oh! Let not your hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.”
And so, we persist. We remind ourselves that we are capable and able of pushing forward, trying one more time, hoping in what we do not see and believing that with God, ALL things are possible.
“Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God.” (Colossians 4:2 GNT)
(And of course some cute Pinterest images, because, well, they are pretty and inspirational.)