Perseverance and Hope

Romans 5:1-5 (NIV): Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

I have always admired people that refuse to quit. Over the course of my life, I have witnessed those types of individuals who refused to let a setback or failure define them. It seemed that they believed something greater was almost in their grasp. That greater “thing” could have been the dream to start a new business in order to better provide for the hopes and dreams of their family. It could have been finding a cure for some terrible disease or identifying solutions to meet the growing demand for energy in our world. Whatever the goal might be, I have always respected those who refuse to give up until they reach their goal.

My youngest daughter loves playing, and sometimes watching, basketball. Her immediate dreams are to play for her middle school and later high school basketball team. Her long range goals are to play for the University of Georgia and eventually the WNBA. A few nights ago, she and I were watching the NBA finals and we saw a great example of a player refusing to give up. Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavilers was defending Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Curry, who is an excellent ball handler, drove past Irving and appeared to have an easy layup that would have put his team ahead. But Irving, refusing to give up, hustled and made a fingertip block of the attempted layup by Curry. Slow motion replays showed that Irving had blocked the potential go-ahead shot with his fingertips. That type of determination and effort is what makes good players great and I used that example to teach my daughter a valuable basketball and life lesson – don’t ever give up!

Perseverance is something that we as followers of Christ should be reminded of from time to time. We often tend to lose our focus and we aim for quick solutions to our problems. This passage from Romans serves to remind us that, we grow and mature (hopefully), as we endure the many challenging and difficult moments of life. “Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Years ago, I remember an interview that a local news station did with an elderly grandmother, who was talking about the advice that she constantly gave to her grandchildren. I had heard this advice before but I just loved the way that this lady expressed it. She said, “I always tell my grandchildren to never get tired of doing what’s right.” That is certainly good and timely advice for many of us today, as we continue to persevere, whatever our situation in life. The Apostle Paul put it this way in Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Prayer: God, we often feel weary and heavy burdened. We feel that the load we carry is too heavy for us and it seems that we are about to buckle under the enormous weight of our problems and worries. It is tempting to just give up and be crushed under the weight of our doubts and unbelief. But you call those of us who believe in you to persevere and to refuse to give up. Our calling is not to place our hope and trust in the world, but rather in you, our Creator and our Redeemer, the One who sustains us. I pray for your presence today God, for those of us who are struggling to persevere. Constantly remind us Lord, that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Amen.

2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV): For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

 

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