Don’t Give Up, Keep Climbing!
Last weekend I took my niece and nephew to an indoor rock-climbing arena. They were both very excited and couldn’t wait to start the ascent up the walls that had things of different shapes jutting out of them. The eight year old was the most excited. There was no fear that he would be able to scale these walls. However, as soon as he started the climb, he realized that it was a lot more difficult. Several times he would start hurriedly, but would then let go of the rocks allowing the auto-belay lower him to the ground. The first time, I asked him what happened and he said he couldn’t get a good handle. Well, the next try, he couldn’t get a good foot landing; the try after that, he was scared of heights. We tried other walls and as you probably guessed, he never made it up to the top. He was frustrated and in tears. I tried to coach him, but he was too far-gone for any of it to make sense. To his credit, he tried going up every single wall section, but just couldn’t make it past a certain point because he gave up…first in his mind and then his body followed.
Watching my nephew’s struggle reminded me of how our Christian walk can start off joyful and euphoric, but then when the trials and tribulations come, we sometimes start to panic, complain, and wonder if God has abandoned us. We allow the weight of the issues to bring us down and we sometimes contemplate throwing in the towel. But then we remember God and we decide to trust Him, to take it one step at a time, and to persevere, albeit a bit shaky.
Perseverance is defined as, “a continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.” Digging deeper into this definition, there are two terms that stand out to me – “continued” and “effort”. “Continued” means sustained or unrelenting, and is used to qualify the word effort. “Effort” means a conscious exertion of power. Put together, I redefine perseverance as “an unrelenting exertion of power directed toward a particular goal to achieve something despite difficulties and opposition.” Perseverance moves forward despite the weakness, pressure or pain. Perseverance looks ahead, assesses the horizon, refuses to accept defeat and holds on.
Perseverance requires that we make a choice to stay the course and keep moving, with the help of the Holy Spirit, until we realize our goal. It is anchored by hope, which keeps our eyes focused on the end goal and fills us with optimism. It is human nature to be able to endure anything as long as there is something to look forward to. So, if we find ourselves losing focus, we must stop and change our perspective. Had my nephew focused on getting to the top and not on how difficult the climb was, he would’ve been successful. Thomas Edison said, “many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Perseverance requires us, as believers, to constantly renew our minds, filling our mouths and our hearts with the truth of God’s Word. To win the battle over our mind, we must continually take in, repeat and reaffirm God’s word.
In addition to that, we must have faith and believe in the One who has promised, trusting in the One who saves and whose love is in us. We must, also, stay humble and pray unceasingly with thanksgiving (Luke 18:1, Philippians 4:6).
Perseverance leads to spiritual maturity, peace, and a reward here on earth or in heaven (Romans 8:18). So, let us hang tight, let us not give up, because there’s a blessing if we endure to the end.