Why Perseverance Matters
Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua!
Returning to Nicaragua has reminded me of the importance of perseverance. A willingness to keep moving ahead despite the present challenges is a key to success in most areas of life. I have found this to be especially true during my time in Nicaragua. While my time in Nicaragua has been full of blessings, it has also been one of the most challenging times of my life. To say that there have never been moments when giving up and moving back to the United States has crossed my mind would be a lie. I think those moments come in most people’s life, but can be especially present when someone is trying to follow God’s call on their life. In fact, I would say they are almost a guarantee in that case. If that is true, what are we supposed to do?
This is where perseverance comes in. In a letter in the Bible to the Hebrews it says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1) This charge follows several accounts of people who followed God’s call on their lives despite the incredible difficulties along the way. By their faith and trust in God and His plans, they pushed through events that would have crushed most people. Without their ability to persevere, none of these people would have accomplished the goal set out for them.
The same has to be true of us if we want to “run the race marked out for us”. If I am honest, persevering is almost never fun. In fact, I would say many times it is incredibly painful and seems to defy logic. It might mean accepting something that does not feel completely right at the moment because you believe the end result or overall plan is worth it. It might mean a willingness to say yes to something you know will make life complicated. It might mean staying when everything in you says leave. Perseverance can look like many things, but in the end it all boils down to not giving up when that would be the easier thing to do.
There are many ways to push oneself to persevere, but for me, the best way is found in the words following the verse above – “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus”. Perseverance is of value whether someone believes in Jesus or not, but I have found no better way to make it a reality in my life than those simple words. I have found that fixing my eyes on Jesus and the grace I have received through him has allowed me to push through the most challenging circumstances. When my eyes are fixed on Jesus, I can believe that God does have a plan for my life and will work through my perseverance. Instead of being sucked into despair, I am better able to look for opportunities to learn in the midst of the storm.
Life will always bring challenges and opportunities to persevere. There are certainly times when we should walk away, but there also many times when we need be steadfast. Perseverance will never be easy, but our willingness to do it might make all of the difference, in our own lives and in this world.
– James Belt