Character Quality: Perseverance
Character Quality: Perseverance
Anyone can keep on going when things are going great.
When the sun is shining and a breeze is blowing, when the birds are singing and there are no mosquitoes biting, it’s easy to stay the course.
When everyone is cheering your on, thinks your great, laughs at your jokes, and remembers your birthday, it’s easy to whistle a happy tune.
When people cooperate, the project finishes on time and under budget, the boss is happy, and you get a promotion, it’s easy to shift into complacency.
But when it rains cats-and-dogs, the roof leaks, and the foundation is compromised, then the desire to give up can be overwhelming.
When friendships fall apart, when the sound of silence rings in your ears, and you feel like your free-falling, weeping drowns out the whistle.
When life seems hijacked by disagreements, hatred, pride and greed, the confusion can make you feel like you are groping in the darkness or on the deck of a ship in a terrible storm.
How did you get here?
I know. I’ve been in both places — the mountain high of success and the valley of despair.
I’ve been surrounded by friends and betrayed.
I’ve had money in the bank and had the creditors calling.
Been there, done both, learned lots.
Perseverance is best decided before it is necessary. It is best admired close up. It is best learned in the dark, all alone, overwhelmed, at the end of your rope, in the desert, from the bottomless pit, where you are hungry, weak, thirsty, and numb.
Perseverance cannot be taught by words, rather by experience. To learn it, you must walk in darkness, trudge through, crawl to the end, and persevere. On the other side, you are stinky, bleeding, sore, bruised, and filthy, but you are on the other side. The elation you feel is not easily described: the relief, the exhilaration, the rush, the emotion, the tears.
Perseverance is one of the most costly character qualities. Once tested by it, faith is deepened, joy established, gratefulness realized, and hope assured.
It cures doubt, affirms trust, establishes peace, releases mercy. When you are released from suffocating circumstances, when the light breaks, when shackles fall, the relief rushes in and takes your breath way.
Most all of those listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 showed perseverance through difficult challenges in their lives. Re-read this section of scripture and review their stories. None of them had it easy. None of them got a ‘get out of jail free’ card. In fact several received a ‘go to jail’ card.
Verse 37 sums it up, “They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.” And yet they persevered, by faith.
They trusted in what they couldn’t see: that God was real, He existed, and He is in control when it doesn’t make sense.
Teaching our children perseverance begins by holding up before them the lives of men and women who are examples of perseverance. The Bible is filled with them. Hebrews 11 has a great starting list.
Read the stories to your children. Make them come alive! Talk about how Abraham and Job and Joseph and Moses and Ruth and Esther and David and the Prophets persevered. You may also want to read No More Flat Flannelgraph Figures about making the Bible come alive!