Perseverance is a concept that not many people have mastered. There are those who want it all, but are not willing to make the sacrifices needed to get to where they would like to go. To persevere is hard, and there are not many people willing to do it. It is a toilsome road filled with rocky and hard terrain, and not very many people are willing to walk it.
People turn on the TV and watch the Olympics, for example, and think, “Oh, I want to be just like that,” but do they really stop to consider all the sacrifices that those athletes make to be able to become the best in the world? Probably not, all they see is the glory of winning an Olympic medal, but they don’t take the time to consider all of the hard work and effort these athletes had to go through to get there. The time that they’ve spent away from family and friends, the discipline, the getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning to go to practice, and the lonely road they have walked to be able to dedicate themselves to a goal they wanted to achieve. They’ve had to persevere to get there and not quit when the going got tough.
How about a famous musician? They didn’t just one day wake up and know how to play the piano like nobody’s business, chances are they started when they were young and have spent thousands upon thousands upon thousands of hours perfecting their craft.
Anything in your life that’s worth doing is going to be difficult. No matter what the Lord leads you to do in your life, if He has called you to do it, you will not have an easy road. We, as Christians, are not promised a flowery path filled with sunny days, blue skies, and smelling the roses. No, the Bible says is in 2 Timothy 3:12, “…all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
Just as a Christian in John Bunyan‘s book Pilgrims Progress suffered many things on his toilsome journey and way to Heaven, so we too must expect to meet opposition, trials, setbacks, disappointments, heartbreak, and even more, but as the faithful Word of God says in Matthew 24:13, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
It doesn’t so much matter how you begin your race, what matters, is if you actually finish it, and finish it well. Why is it that people start doing something, but not very many people actually finish it to the end? It seems that way, more often than not, when the going gets tough, people just quit. They will use any opportunity imaginable to stop doing something Lord has called them to do. They’ll say, “It’s too hard,” “I’m too tired,” “It takes way too much time away from my family,” “I’m not good at it,” but the bottom line is, that if it is something the Lord has called you to do, He will give you the grace and strength to do it as long as you persevere and walk it out.
Sometimes, in our ministry, we would call for up to a year or maybe even longer before the Lord would open up the door or opportunity for us to get into a school and speak to an assembly. If we were to stop six months into it and say, “This is just too hard, we’ve tried long enough,” then maybe hundreds of students would not have been reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If you are doing something right now that God is called you to do and you are thinking about quitting because it’s just too tough, I want you to stop and think about what you’re really doing and why you’re doing it. Regret is a horrible thing to live with, and I don’t want you to stop just because you’re feeling a little discouraged along the way. Pull yourself back up, pray for the grace and strength to do what God has called you to do and keep going. It is only the Lord who will sustain you.
Paul said at the end of his life in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
Will you and I be able to say the same thing at the end of our days? That will depend upon us and our ability to rest in Christ alone and do, by His grace, what we alone cannot do as we count Him faithful who will see us through, and by the grace of God…we will in Jesus name.