The Amazing Power of PerseveranceBy
The evening before Easter, Jennifer and I sat outside in the backyard of some friends enjoying a barbeque as we listened to an amazing story. We sat at the table with a woman who we hadn’t met before but knew of through our mutual friend. We were asked to pray for her last summer.
She had contracted an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection that attacked her body full force. She was hospitalized as the doctors fought to keep her alive. It went into her blood and attacked various organs as well as her extremities. The doctors bombarded her with massive doses of antibiotics only to have the infection flare up again somewhere else. She said, “At one point the doctors had given up all hope of my survival as the infection took over my body.”
Yet she fought on. She never gave up. As weak as she was she continued to maintained faith and look forward to her healing. With all of the setbacks she would simply not give in. Many friends prayed for her. She believed in those prayers and the God they were beseeching and slowly the infection began to respond. It was still a long ordeal but small victories finally were being won. They were getting the infection under control but it had taken a huge toll on her body. It would be a long recovery back.
As we sat together that evening, about a year after her ordeal began, I was simply amazed. She had driven herself to the party. She sat outside with the rest of us talking and laughing.
When Jennifer and I were alone with her we talked in more depth. She said, “I learned a lot about myself as a person. I grew tremendously. Obviously, I wouldn’t want to go through it again. But I don’t regret it. I’m stronger in my faith today than ever before. I grew much closer to God. I really sensed his presence with me through it all. And because of this my husband and children have all grown in their faith as well.”
She went on, “It was incredibly difficult yet through it all God has blessed me richly which has made it worth it.”
We all get hit with difficulties. Some not as severe as this and some maybe worse. We get blindsided with the loss of our job, health, spouse, life savings. And we reel from it. It’s easy to give up. To get stuck on, “Why me?” We’ve heard we need to press on but endurance is a lot easier when you read about it than when you have to live it. Yet if we quit the problems aren’t solved and they compound.
So what do we do? How do we keep pressing on?
The bible says, “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! ” (Romans 5:3-5, The Message)
Perseverance is the key. And that perseverance comes as we keep looking forward to what God will do next. As we expect God to answer and we trust he will work those difficult times for good in our lives we become like tempered steel. And in the end we’re promised more than we can even hold. Wow!
But how do you this? A few ideas that help me.
When I hit problems I try to still stay joyful. It’s not easy. But I rejoice in what I have already. I look at all that is right in my life instead of only what’s wrong. And I thank God for all of these blessings everyday. This helps me keep it all in perspective. It also builds confidence that if God has gotten me through my life this far with all of his blessings he will do it in the future as well.
Next, I try to look forward to what God will do next. I force myself to anticipate God’s blessings which he has promised. This keeps me looking for the opportunities instead of dwelling on the problems. I try to focus on the answers instead of only the challenges. I look for the next step instead of only what has happened. Most of the time I won’t see the whole answer but only a small glimpse. That’s enough to take me a little farther in solving the problem, though.
Sometimes my only perseverance is to just keep praying for God’s direction and help. As long as I don’t stop praying then I don’t give up. When I’m filled with questions I pray. When I see small victories I thank him. When I’m confused I ask for clarity. And the answers come. Sometimes slowly but enough to keep me pressing on.
And when we come out the other side? Well, we’ll have a depth of faith we never had before. We’ll know God intimately as our personal friend in a way we’ve never known him. You’ll carry a confidence about the future no one can take away from you. And we can say with the apostle Paul, “I don’t have containers enough to hold all the blessings.”
“Never, never, never give up.” Winston Churchill
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Douglas Armey, the LPL Financial adviser associated with this website, practices in Fresno, California and may discuss and/or transact business only with residents of the following states: California, Idaho and Oregon.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance reference is historical and is no guarantee of future results.