The word perseverance is defined as “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.”
On my daily walks here in New Jersey, I often see pine cones, remnants from the hurricane winds and fallen trees, that have been shaken to the ground. They seem to be lying in a dormant state without much purpose. Yet in 18-24 long months, new growth from the seeds produced in these very tough and spindly exteriors will appear. I also see buds starting to peek out of the earth as spring slowly arrives. Flower bulbs that have been planted deep within the earth, and have persevered through harsh winter cold, winds and snow, are slowly making their way to the surface. Soon they will burst into dazzling blooms, brilliantly coloring the earth. This is perseverance in all it’s glory.
You and I also persevere through many of life’s challenges. You persevere through childhood as you grow and develop into the person you were meant to be. Then there’s school where you learn and develop and test so that you may have a place in the world to work and share your talents. You persevere through the military – months, maybe years of deployment in harsh conditions away from your home and family in order for freedom to ring. Maybe you face serious injury and sickness where you have to fight to survive one day at a time. Then there’s difficult relationships and marriages that are slowly deteriorating and can go either way, along with the loneliness that ensues as you struggle to stay together or not. Women persevere through 9 months of body changes, weight gain, fatigue, mood swings and the birthing process in order to proudly hold their newborn child. Some people go down the road of alcoholism and drug addiction where they must choose one way or another to rise above it or not. There’s financial hardship, job loss, unemployment and job searches that make you feel like you don’t belong anywhere anymore, but, nonetheless, you continue on with the hope that you will find your way to a successful future.
On that first Good Friday Jesus persevered through betrayal and humiliation, grave pain, suffering and fear as he was mocked and beaten and nailed to a cross to die a slow, agonizing death. He persevered through two days in the tomb until that brilliant Easter morning when He fulfilled the prophecy of the risen Christ in all His splendor.
Perseverance is also defined as “a continuance in a state of grace leading finally to a state of glory.” Christ’s suffering ended; so will ours. Maybe all of this persevering is our cross – something we need to endure so we can learn to have faith and trust in God. If we do it right and use these common denominators of faith and trust through all of our hardships, we will attain that state of grace and join Him in that final state of glory.