Thomas Alva Edison, who invented the first commercially viable electric bulb is said to have experimented with thousands of designs that failed before persevering to find the one that did. Perseverance is a virtue that is given high value in the biblical context. It is the ability to stay focused and remain committed to the cause you have believed in and the journey you have undertaken. Believing in Christ is much more easier than continuing to follow Christ through the challenges of life.
Perseverance is needed because we are products of time. As we move through time, in the face of changing circumstances, we are prone to waver in our beliefs and attitudes. To remain stayed on our journey is no easy task. This becomes all the more pronounced when we face difficulties.
In Paul’s words, “—we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3,4)
The sequence of how sufferings can lead a person to develop perseverance that finally culminates in building character and hope is quintessential to the Christian journey.
The story of Fanny Crosby comes to mind. Blinded by a quack at the age of 6 weeks, she never pitied herself for being blind, rather embarked on journey that made her write 9000 Christian hymns, penning some of the most encouraging hymns ever written, including “Blessed Assurance,” “All the Way My Savior Leads Me,” “To God Be the Glory,” “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” “Safe in the Arms of Jesus,” “Rescue the Perishing,” and “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross,” right up to her 95th birthday shortly before her death. Once, responding to a well-meaning preacher who remarked that God should have given her sight, she responded, “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I should be born blind?” said the poet, “Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”(1)
When suffering strikes, we can wallow in self-pity and deteriorate; or else persevere and be renewed in hope. This hope is what firmly plants a Christian in the eternal life that awaits in Christ Jesus. And so God’s call for us is to run the race of life with perseverance, fixing our eyes on Christ Jesus, and being certain that what he has started will come to fruition at the appointed time.
- WHEN CHRIST DWELLS WITHIN
- SLAVES FOREVER