The Necessary Practice of Perseverance

Perseverance can be Exhausting

Perseverance - Exhausting, Rewarding, NecessaryThis past weekend I realized how exhausting perseverance can really be. It is not that I haven’t realized it before, but this particular plan of perseverance was physically exhausting. Please allow me to explain. A number of years ago, my husband and I celebrated Thanksgiving at the shore, with our family. We had never celebrated a major holiday away from home before, but that year we decided to do something unique. It was a different holiday, but one of grand and memorial proportions.

My husband decided that we needed to merge all types of family activities into that holiday and one of those activities, included flying a kite on the actual shore. I had never done anything like that before and he thrilled at my excitement. It was enthralling to be able to launch the shaped nylon fabric into the stiff sea breeze, with little perseverance, and watch it soar higher and higher. It was such an awesome event to watch the freedom of the kite as it danced and dangled beyond heights imaginable. Now fast forward to last weekend.

This past weekend, a beautiful friend of mine, both in spirit and physical qualities, decided to take me away to the shore to celebrate my birthday, with a ”girl’s weekend”. My husband secretly influenced my friend to take a kite with us. I couldn’t believe that he had remembered this event all those years ago, but once again the opportunity presented itself, to fly a kite on the shore. My friend and I set aside last Sunday afternoon, to spend on the sandy shore, with the goal to fly the kite. It was a beautiful day, full of sun, but unfortunately, there was very little breeze, at least consistent and steady breeze. We were hopefully determined though that the kite was going to fly.  Upon comparing notes, we swiftly decided that neither of us, really knew much about kite flying. After many failed attempts to launch the kite, we quickly realized that there is obviously an art to flying a kite and perseverance must take a key role.

What a site we must have looked, as my friend would hold the kite up high and then I would run as quickly as I could trying to catch the wind in the nylon shape to launch it into the air. Over and over with determined perseverance, we attempted to get the kite airborne without success. We ran the kite in every direction, but still the kite would not gain any height, and as soon as I would stop running the kite would stop too.  I soon learned that the necessary perseverance with this endeavor was totally exhausting me. My heart rate was high, as my cardiac movements pushed my athletic limits. My arms were tiring from repeatedly keeping them in the air. I determined that kite flying was quite, an athletic activity that strongly encouraged and taught the art of perseverance.

It wasn’t too long before I could stand no more and had to take a break. My friend however was a bit more determined that the kite was going to soar and after a short rest she was up attempting to maneuver the kite in the breeze once more. I watched her for a short while, feeling rather guiltily before joining in the activity again. The two of us though, through the art of perseverance and the blessing of God, through wind, finally reaped the benefits of a soaring kite. It was so exciting to at last watch the fruit of our efforts from the challenges of perseverance, as the kite dazzled us with it dancing, across the sky.

Perseverance according to Webster’s dictionary is a continued effort to do or achieve something; despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. Charles Spurgeon said that, ”By perseverance the snail reached the ark.” It is so much easier to give up when things get difficult, the results are not what we expected, or it seems we will never arrive at the moment we wish to achieve. The self-taught studies of patience and perseverance can be daunting, but these are lessons that the bamboo farmers in Malaysia skillfully employ in their livelihood.

When farmers in Malaysia want to reap the harvest of a particular variety of bamboo, they began not with a plant, but a seed. During the first year, they plant the seed, water, and fertilize it. They know that during this first year however that they will not see any results of this effort. As the life of the bamboo will have it, the farmers will continue to care for the seed, through perseverance by watering and fertilizing the soil, but still no visible evidence of their efforts is seen. The third year, the water and fertilizing is even more important, but again there will be no visible evidence of any growth. As the fourth year turns, the farmers continue the pattern of the first three, but still nothing will happen. In the fifth year, the farmers continue to diligently water and fertilize with strong allegiance to the art of perseverance, and then suddenly, the bamboo will grow 90 feet in just 30 days. The plant grows from nothing, to a height greater than the magnificent oak tree.

The farmers teach us very clearly that we should not become tired of doing good things, for in the end, there is a great harvest of giant proportions to behold. Just because we do not see results or receive thanks for doing good things or even the right things, discouragement should not rise. We must place our trust in God for the results, for there will come a time that there will be a tremendous reward of blessings. We do not always see immediate rewards for the work we are doing, but God promises that we will see the effort of our perseverance in the work we do, at some point.

This week our focus verse clearly tells us not to be discouraged, because we do not see the results in the good efforts we put forth. It tells us that perseverance is the key for a harvest of blessings. It is important that we remind ourselves that doing the right thing may not have an immediate result, but it is still what we should continue to do and strive for, using perseverance to push aside our discouragement. We are clearly commanded to do what is right in God’s eye and not give up along the way, just because the journey is difficult or long.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

Perseverance is Rewarding

It is important to remember that when you are discouraged from the lack of results that you must continue to do good things, for God promises there is a time when the good of blessings will come to a great harvest. You must continue to keep on ”keeping on” even when you do not see the expected ”good” results. Part of the art of learning perseverance is to not allow discouragement to creep in while pursuing the right thing. It all comes back to trusting God and relying on Him to know what is best and when. This is not easy in an instant world, but it is necessary in an eternal one.

When you feel discouragement setting in and the art of perseverance waning, remember the words of William Ward;

Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellow-man, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God.

Do not be found in line for being impolite to God, distrusting the future, or being ungrateful for the blessings you have received. It is with great hope that you can face the opportunities given to you each day, knowing that God does secure your future. Being consistently aware of the beauty that surrounds you is as necessary and important as it is for you to help others in everyday life.  Perseverance is more than a reward for good effort, it is the necessary key to eternity. John Wesley’s diary shows this magnificent lesson in his personal perseverance.

Sunday, A.M., May 5    Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore.
Sunday, P.M., May 5     Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said “Get out and stay out.”
Sunday, A.M., May 12    Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.
Sunday, A.M., May 19    Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
Sunday, P.M., May 19    Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday, A.M., May 26    Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.
Sunday, A.M., June 2    Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
Sunday, P.M., June 2    Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.

There are great benefits to perseverance. You must remember as Jim Denison’s friend noted, that people watch life’s parade through a knothole in the fence, while God watches from the grandstand. Remembering that God sees all, find yourself challenged to not be discouraged from doing the right thing even though you may not see immediate or even good results. Knowing that God is watching and directing from the “big picture,” should convict you to continue to hold true to perseverance; doing what is right and good, even when no one else cares. Because in the end, there is comfort in knowing that God will make right and known all good at some point, in some means, because it will be done His way.

Surrounding yourself with friends that have a strong sense of perseverance helps make your efforts mighty too. For a really great lesson in perseverance, see if you can find the time to fly a kite, to experience the exhausting, rewarding, and yet necessary life skill.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Post Script

Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.

Douglas MacArthur

Extra Study

Acts 10:35, 2 Corinthians 4:1, 2 Thessalonians 3:13, Hebrews 13:16

Credits 
Denison, J. (2015, September 18). Denison Forum on Truth and Culture. Retrieved from denisonforum.org: http://www.denisonforum.org/cultural-commentary/1933-love-triangle-at-stanford-business-school

What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion

Do you find the art of perseverance exhausting? Have you learned key points to keep on ”keeping on” in the face of discouragement? Do you have a story to share with others about the blessings seen in the art of perseverance? Join us in discussion on the exhausting, rewarding, and necessary experiences of perseverance.

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