“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4)
The Chambers Thesaurus defines perseverance as a “The fact, process, condition, or quality of persevering; constant or steadfast persistence in a course of action or in pursuit of an aim. ”
Steadfast persistence? In pursuit of an aim?
We all want something in our lives. Some of us wish to acquire property, education, job promotion, establish a family, get a new pet, go on that dream vacation and there are those who just want nothing but to be happy. Yes, …to be happy! Just obtaining one minute of happiness is sufficient for some people because probably throughout their lives they are being confronted with constant crisis ranging from health issues, financial disability or whatever.
I bet we must have heard the popular saying, no gain without pain. There is an enormous difference between wanting something and wanting something so badly. The question, which revolves around this is, what do you want?
There may be no ‘priority tag’ attach to just wanting a thing. Nonetheless, there will be a first-class ‘priority tag’ affix on something badly needed. As for the former, one might consider obtaining that thing another day or time by virtue of the level of importance placed over it. However, in the case of the latter, we tend to view it as a matter of life and death. We want this thing at all cost. Therefore, we are fully prepared to do whatever it takes to get it even if it will take years.
This is perseverance.
Throughout his growing up, Jacob built bad reputations for himself. He stole his older brother’s rights; he tricked his father into diverting Esau’s blessings upon him (Jacob) and fled for his life. He knew he was a bad guy, but it was possible he did not expect the dissembled, injurious treatment Laban melted at him. After all, Jacob was paying dearly for his past wrongdoings. It became too much for him that he decided to part ways with Laban as he took his wives, children and property to go far away. Jacob was sick and tired being maltreated. He felt he’d pay enough for what he did to Esau. He longed dearly to run from this bondage.
And in Genesis 32: 26, Jacob got the opportunity to alter his life forever when he wrestled with God and the reward he got was divinely a permanently changing his name. His identity was remoulded. His reputation wiped clean and his position reinstated when a reconciled with his brother. Israel could have stayed back with Laban and continue to suffer in silence.
Perseverance cannot tolerate procrastination. If we are steadfast, it means we will sit tight and not play around, which is what procrastination entails. Perseverance ignites the passion of authentically love doing what we are doing to get what we what. At least we love to obtain that thing and this is the reason why we persevere. We are unwilling to focus on the pain that emerges from it. We opt not to listen to what people say to dissuade us from moving forward with our projects.
Perseverance needs faith to blossom. Let us pause to ask: why am I toiling this hard? Does that means I believe God is going to do it? If our respective response is affirmative, then we are placed on the right track. However, if we are struggling with finding the appropriate answer, I would like to declare that there is a possibility that we might be toiling in vain. We can persevere for days, weeks, or years, but if we do not trust God and believe Him for a positive outcome, it is like pouring fresh water in a basket, which definitely will not hold any water.
I will leave us with an amazing story of Hannah, the mother of prophet Samuel. The initial opening sentence of Amplified Bible of 1 Samuel 1:1 says in bracket, “Hannah pours out her heart to God“. Despite Elkanah, her husband’s loving soothing words (1 Samuel 1:8), Hannah persisted and believed. She knew there is more to receiving praise from her man. She knew that that ‘more’ is having a biological child and not just listening to everyday consolation from Elkanah. Her perseverance plus faith in God opened the gate of heaven and poured out abundance blessings upon her. She became Prophet Samuel’s, and added to that, “God was most especially kind to Hannah. She had three more sons and two daughters! The boy Samuel stayed at the sanctuary and grew up with God.” (1 Samuel 2:21 MSG)
May God help us to trust Him more and more, and to never give up too quickly on our life’s journeys
In Jesus name, AMEN