Perseverance is so much more than simply hanging on.

Persevere in Hope Even When Everything Feels Too Hard

It’s a chilly April morning, and Tucker and I galumph our way around the wooded path that circles the land behind our home. Along the path, a little beech tree stands alone, fully clothed in a grove of naked but budding alders. Every little breeze stirs a papery rustle as her brown leafy hands greet my passing. She knows what it is to hold on, and I wonder about the parable of her perseverance as I stare at the word, scrawled in spidery cursive across the top of a journal page: PERSEVERE.

Those who believingly follow Jesus Christ are familiar with anticipation, with the dogged perseverance of waiting, because we have read the words of Scripture about eternal rewards which come to those who endure.

So we endure – sometimes just because God has commanded us to do so.

Sometimes because we remember that Jesus has promised it will be worth it in the end. 

Persevere with Rewards in Mind

The final book of the Bible, John’s Revelation, makes a promise of reward to each of the seven churches John addresses.  To the faithful, God extends the promise of eternal life (2:7), resurrection (2:11), God’s provision (2:17), ruling with Jesus (2:26-28), citizenship in God’s kingdom (3:5), life in the presence of God (3:12), and shared authority with the victorious Christ (3:21).

Eternal rewards don’t capture our hearts as they should.

But there are times when eternal rewards don’t capture our hearts as they should.   We grow weary, impatient.  Short-sighted, we wonder if maybe a promotion at work, a nicer house with a better, more fashionable address, or the realization of some of our secret hopes and aspirations might not be a more appropriate reward for the kind of “suffering” that we’ve endured.   Like the prodigal son, we want our “inheritance,” and we want it now.

God, however, has the long leisure of eternity in mind, and, while humans long for instant gratification, He tends to do many things very, very slowly.  He sees the character development and deep refinement that will come through perseverance.  He delights in a brand of righteousness that comes in the secret place, for His eyes only, that may go unnoticed, unheralded — and unrewarded as far as we can see with our temporal understanding of rewards.

Persevere in Community

Today, we persevere, but not alone.  When John introduces himself at the outset of his final letter, he speaks of companionship and uses plural pronouns (1:9).  When perseverance happens in community, we remind one another of future good that is to come.  We hold each other to a biblical definition of “overcoming,” and endure the pressures of this life in company with those who are also learning the grace of saying “no” to evil and “yes” to Christ.

When perseverance happens in community, we remind one another of future good that is to come.

The Apostle Paul cherished a clear-eyed view of his eternal reward that carried him through every trial he faced:

 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. . . But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”

(Romans 8:18, 25)

Lord, teach us to look forward in hope to what you have promised; to have our hearts firmly planted in your kingdom, for that is where we will find our true and most lasting treasure.

Perseverance is so much more than simply hanging on. When the newness wears off, when you don’t feel like it, when everything just feels too hard, press on. Ask God for his strength and energy to keep going with every worthwhile endeavor.

Holding on,

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52 thoughts on “Persevere in Hope Even When Everything Feels Too Hard”

  1. Michele, joining you in this prayer >> “Lord, teach us to look forward in hope to what you have promised; to have our hearts firmly planted in your kingdom, for that is where we will find our true and most lasting treasure.” May my feet be firmly planted and my heart set on eternity.

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  2. Yes! Persevering and enduring in community makes all the difference in the world. Thank you for your post.

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  3. This is so true. Our church just finished going through Hebrews, and I was struck by multiple mentions of that continuing city we and the faithful of old seek instead of what we have here. We tend to relegate that all to when we die. But it’s supposed to motivate our here and now, too, not just our end.

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  4. Michele, such good thoughts about persevering; indeed our focus determines whether we continue by faith, or become discouraged. I was greatly blessed by this post today!

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  5. Thanks for the thoughts on the prodigal son. I’ve never really considered myself like him, but I see that yes, sometimes I want my inheritance now and to get through problems quickly. Thanks for the reminder.

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  6. Nice to read this as a follow up to a bible study last night. I was considering a definition of hope that said our hope is fueled by God’s faithfulness. The longer we persevere in hope, the more opportunities we’ve had to see his steady faithfulness!

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  7. I praise God for those who love and support us during seasons of perseverance–when solutions or conclusions are nowhere in sight. If it weren’t for the strength of the Holy Spirit and the prayerful concern of others, we’d surely crumble!

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  8. Great words here on perseverance, Michele. I particularly like this one because we probably shortchange it: “When perseverance happens in community, we remind one another of future good that is to come.” Community can really help us stick with it, whatever “it” happens to be.

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  9. Such good encouragement, Michele. Are you familiar with Selah’s song “Press On”? My friend sang it at my mom’s funeral and I thought of it as I read your words. The eternal rewards you mention are worth so much more than anything this earth might offer.

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  10. These are wise words! I think it’s important to persevere, we need to apply ourselves to things – but as you summed up we need to have hope behind it that it is worth it – we must never lose sight of the hope we have!

    Hope that you are having a nice weekend! It’s a long weekend here 🙂

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  11. I love your words on perseverance. I truly want to do so much than solely hanging on in tough times. God has shown me we can persevere well, but it takes a whole lot of God. Thank you for sharing with Grace & Truth Link-Up.

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  12. Persevere is a great word and something we often need to do more, galumph is a new-to-me word -but I love it, and can totally identify with it (sadly) – and they go well together for me. Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

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  13. Yes, yes, YES, Michele! This post hit me in just the right way at this time of weariness. THANK YOU for your wise words!

    And thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party. I’m featuring you this week!

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  14. Persevere is a word that came up in my youngest’s parents’ evening this week. He is extremely intelligent but doesn’t like to push himself when he finds things tricky. So many things are easy for him that he struggles when confronted with a challenge. He also needs to learn that it is ok to make mistakes and learn from them. Thanks for linking up with #MischiefAndMemories

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  15. Perseverance can sure get wearisome, can’t it? Especially in these tumultuous times. But persevere we must and we must look to the things that get us by…religion, community, friendships, and family. We still have much more to persevere in this lifetime. Thanks for sharing your beautiful and encouraging words as always!

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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