Archive for January, 2022

Do you feel like quitting sometimes? What’s the use?, you may think. I will never meet my goal. So, what should we do when we feel this way?

Probably the greatest political leader of the 20th Century, Winston Churchill, said in a speech when facing the wrath of the Nazi’s,

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

And he didn’t give in and led England to help save the Western world from being overcome by the Nazis. He persevered.

What made Thomas Edison keep trying to invent the electric light bulb after 10,000 failures? Perseverance.

But where does this perseverance come from? Why do many of us fail to persevere?

One reason is we don’t focus on the prize–the reward of not giving up. I had to do this in high school when my letter in cross country hinged on the final race of the season. I needed to finish ahead of a particular runner in a two-mile race to win a letter. As we entered the last part of the race I was ahead, but exhausted. Then I heard his pounding steps closing in on me, and I feared my letter was slipping away. I then reached deep within myself for just enough strength to speed up and  discourage my challenger  from overtaking me. After the race, I lay on the ground for a half hour trying to catch my breath. But I was rejoicing because I had won a letter. Keeping my eye on the prize enabled me to find the strength and courage to win the race.

Likewise, in the race of life we need to keep our eyes riveted on the prize, too–a successful life in the eyes of God. We can be unwilling to endure the pain and fail to see the value of receiving God’s praise of “Well done, my good and faithful servant….Let’s celebrate together!” (Matthew 25:21, NLT).

Instead, we often focus on our worries and making money or gaining influence, which sap our strength and keep us from finishing the race a winner (Matthew 13:22).

One thing to keep in mind to help us continue living a responsible life when it is hard, is that it makes us stronger. A caterpillar becomes a healthy butterfly by struggling to break free from its cocoon. Likewise, the trials and tribulations we endure and overcome equip us to face even greater challenges in the future.

Many of the blessings God promises only come to us if we endure in relying on them. Recently it dawned on me that one of the reasons I haven’t experienced more peace is that I haven’t relied much on this promise: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you” (John 14:27, NAS). “But where is it Lord? I seem to have a lot of anxiety for a person who has been given so much peace.” Then, it hit me. I don’t have more peace because I don’t expect it and rely on it.

Also, when we look away from the pain and fixate on the good that God promises from the pain, we can maintain a better perspective of it. Rather than “cursing the darkness” and despairing over it, we can give thanks for  the good God is doing through it as he promised in Romans 8:28.

Our ability to persevere is enhanced when we accept that life is difficult. We assume that life should be easy and comfortable. And when it’s not, we think that something is wrong. But famous Christian psychologist and author, M. Scott Peck,  wrote “Life is difficult and when we accept the fact that life is difficult, it’s not so difficult.” Acceptance of our pain as a necessary part of living helps us to not to be so frustrated by the setbacks we face.

May we press on and complete the journey that God has planned for each of us. May we persevere and not give up. May we live in the reality that our suffering is not in vain. “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT).

Read Full Post »