Choices, Christian, Encouragement, Faith, Family, God, Health, Perseverance, Relationships, Trust

The Power of Perseverance

“I didn’t think you were coming back,” the fitness instructor said when she saw me coming through the door. I can understand her comment, since after my first attempt in class I had whined about battling head-to-toe muscle aches for days afterwards. But despite feeling like I had been run over with a Mack truck after exercising, something in me said, “don’t quit after one try.”

thGVL9S49HThe morning the class rolled around again, I awoke to my radio playing the song “Stronger,” by Mandisa. The first words to reach my ears were, “The pain ain’t gonna last forever, and things can only get better; Believe me, this is gonna make you stronger.” Obviously she wasn’t singing specifically about my attempt at strengthening my muscles, but I smiled at God and considered it a wink of encouragement to pull on my stretch pants again that night.

My exercise teacher’s response made me think back a few years to my first day at a new job. I was introduced to a tiny but tough-looking woman who was retiring from the position I was filling.   Having been in the job for at least a millennium, she quickly conveyed the not-so-subtle message that no one could possibly fill her shoes – and that she fully expected me to fail miserably.

She bombarded me with non-stop information the first day, as if to intentionally overwhelm me. I left exhausted, but showed up again promptly before 8:00 a.m. the next morning. When she saw me, she peered over her glasses with a somewhat amused look and said, “Oh, I wasn’t sure if you were coming back!”   That did it. The rest of the week I steeled myself with the attitude of, “bring it on, lady!”   I went on to not only master the job, but I’m pretty sure that I “left the campground better than I found it” when I was recruited by a different employer
over a year later.

It would have been easy to crumble under the pressure of that training week, or give up after that first painful exercise class, but choosing to persevere was the better alternative. Why?  Because perseverance, though rarely easy, usually leads to long-term rewards.

I think back to my freshman year in college, when I battled severe homesickness. I not only missed my family and friends, but was desperately afraid of failing.   At the end of weekend visits at home, I would lay my head in my mother’s lap and sob because it was time for me to return to campus. But out the door I went, every time, until I finally grew to enjoy college life almost a year later. In fact, I ended up staying for six years and graduating with two degrees!

The Bible speaks frequently of perseverance, especially in the face of struggle.   The story of Job is a classic example.   Though he lost his family, his possessions, and his health, Job persevered and refused to “curse God,” even when his own wife urged him to do so.   Job was not without questions, but he still remained faithful—and eventually his suffering was replaced with restoration and healing. Job’s enduring faith is recounted in James 5:11 where it says, “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

Maybe you are facing a situation where it would be easier to quit, or curse God rather than stick it out. Let me acknowledge, there are situations when it is appropriate to bail. There have been times in my career when I wisely chose to leave toxic work environments. I have friends who have appropriately severed abusive relationships.  Truthfully, there are also situations when persevering leads to disappointing results, like my current investment of almost three years in bi-weekly allergy shots that don’t seem to be making much difference.

Yet I still believe the power of perseverance is a highly overlooked and  untapped a41107d183cf1056713c5850f284b04a[1]discipline in today’s “immediate gratification” society. How many blessings and “happy endings” have we missed because we have given up too soon?   As Thomas Edison, the great inventor said, Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

May I encourage you, my friend, to evaluate the opportunities for perseverance in your life right now? Maybe it’s something that involves healthy habits, like eating better, exercising regularly, or reading your Bible consistently. Perhaps it’s something relational, like parenting a wayward child, sticking with a friend who’s struggling, or remaining faithful and committed to your spouse when your romantic feelings are waning.   Maybe you have a God-given goal or dream, but seem to keep running into obstacles. Perhaps you are enduring a long-term or life-threatening health challenge, or are the primary caregiver of someone who is.

Like with Job, the answer, the relief, the break-through, or the precious divine strength to keep pressing on is on its way (even if it doesn’t feel like it). As you place your trust in God and seek His will, your perseverance will lead you to see “what the Lord finally brought about.”  Since you can be sure it will be rooted in God’s compassion and mercies, it will be worth the struggle, worth the commitment, and worth the wait, no matter the outcome.

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For a real-life example of the rewards of perseverance, click on the following links to read my blog series  “Chosen”, “the Fearbiter,” and “The Kisser.”

Additional verses about perseverance:

Bible – New International Version

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” Hebrews 10:36.

“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.

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” Hebrews 12:1.

“. . . the testing of your faith produces perseverance” James 1:3.

“I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.”   Revelation 2:10

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” James 1:4.

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P.S.  What do you think of the new singledevotion layout/design?

16 thoughts on “The Power of Perseverance”

  1. This is exactly where I am at right now. Thank you for the encouragement and challenge. I forget who said it, but these words continue to help me: “A long obedience in the same direction.”

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  2. So true! With a couple jobs, my bosses were unkind and I thought of bailing – but with each, I stuck through for just a little longer and each situation changed. Reading my journal from when my 2nd kid was born, I realize how exhausted I was all the time then – but of course, bailing out wasn’t an option; and luckily, babies grow and gradually become a little less exhausting. I do pray for those where long-term perseverance is required, though (like a disabled child).

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  3. I love the new design! I found it easier to read and it fit my computer screen better.
    I’m glad you are persevering with your blog. This one encouraged me to persevere in some areas on my life I had given up on.
    Thank you.

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  4. Thank you Jane…God just spoke to me through you…..I really needed this message today. I have done almost 3 weeks of massage therapy.. Which I thought would be sooooo relaxing…. Its not lol…they are trying to relax muscles that have been tight for 20 years and also trying to retrain my nervous system. I come home feeling great and then.the next day am in bed. They say it will.get worse before it gets better…. So I pray …and pray and I will persevere…. Thank you beautiful friend 💗💗

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  5. You are so welcome! I absolutely love the quote about the “long obedience in the same direction.” It’s one that a favorite friend and Christian teacher of mine used to say often.

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  6. Thank you for commenting on the new blog page design. I’m glad you like it! Yes, blogging itself requires perseverance! 🙂 I pray that the Lord will grant you wisdom and encouragement to keep persevering in the areas of your life you referred to.

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  7. Deborah, I actually thought of you as I wrote it and hoped it would be an encouragement to you. I understand how therapy can make you feel worse before you feel better! Keep persevering, my sweet friend!

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  8. Thank you for sharing again poignant life-lessons that we all can take to heart. I don’t think I’ve heard many sermons on perseverance itself, so thank you for writing on this. And, I appreciate the view that “no matter the outcome” –God is still lavishing his love, compassion and mercies on us. Truth! I LOVE your new design! 🙂

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  9. Hey Jane, this is the second article or devotion I have read of yours and all I can say is WOW! You are an awesome writer. It is always so relevant as well. I think you should consider putting in all in a book.

    Jackie

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  10. Jackie, Thank you for your kind words! I’m so glad to hear that you are finding my writing relevant – (and thanks for signing up to officially follow my blog, by the way)! You never know, the Lord may lead me to write a book someday. 🙂

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