Beauty in Perseverance
by Anita Peluso
The last days of winter often feel like drudgery – painful waiting until we see the first blooms of spring. We long for the crocus, daffodils, and tulips of spring to brighten the gray landscape of winter, bringing hope of warmer, sunnier days. We may think of perseverance as drudgery, as the last days of winter. There certainly have been times in my life when the last thing I wanted to do was persevere. Yet, might there be hidden beauty in the transformational journey of perseverance?
Without a doubt, there are seasons in life when circumstances throw the darkest clouds over everything. Death, wickedness, and difficulties in this life are the result of the sin of Adam and Eve. It is not wrong to lament these circumstances, for the writer of Lamentations concludes, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord” (Lamentations 3:18). But in the midst of his trials, he remembers that the steadfast love of God never ceases, and His mercies never end. In this remembrance, he declares that “The Lord is my portion therefore I will hope in him” (Lamentations 3:22-24). Despite the writer’s bleak outlook, when he turns his spiritual eyes to the Lord, he finds the encouragement needed to persevere.
Perseverance in the Old Testament
In the Old Testament God describes himself as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” – characteristics of His endurance with a people who were fickle in following Him (Exodus 34:6). The New Testament calls God a God of endurance. Equally, Paul affirms that the scriptures were written so that we might find hope through the endurance and encouragement contained within its words (Romans 15:4-5). Remember, those scriptures for Paul are now our Old Testament.
Perseverance by Example
Paul named individuals from former Old Testament days whom he called a “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 11). These witnesses – such as Abel, Abraham, Noah, Moses, and many more unnamed followers of God – persevered through adversity, ridicule, persecution, and even death for the hope they found in God. Though we are indeed called to persevere, as this great cloud of witnesses has done, it is the perseverance of God throughout scripture that gives us hope. What hope would we have if God simply gave up on his plan to redeem a people for himself? Yet we know that he did not desert his plan, but that his plan for redemption through faith in Jesus Christ was made complete (John 19:28, 30, 36). And we continue to hope for the redemption of creation of which John spoke (Revelation 21).
Where is the beauty in Perseverance?
Here lies the beauty in perseverance: because God himself is a God of endurance, He gives us the ability to also persevere. And through our perseverance, we discover a deeper communion in our relationship with God. The psalmists attest to God’s enduring nature:
- “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
- “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
- “You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me” (Psalm 18:35)
- “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.” (Psalm 66:16)
We too, as we persevere, may join in the chorus of the Psalms, declaring that God is our refuge, our strength, and near to us when we are faced with the challenges of this life. I know this to be true in my own life. For, during times of difficulty, disappointment, and loss, I encountered the enduring nature of God. In a season when my will to live was gone, God preserved me. When my disappointment was too heavy, God comforted me. Whether relationships failed me or I failed them, God remained – persistently, steadfastly, faithfully.
He will do the same for you.
Anita recently graduated with an MA in Biblical Studies where her love of all things Old Testament took root. She lives in Western Washington with her software engineer husband and two furry cats. Together, they are renovating 2 ½ unkempt suburban acres while converting a Ford Transit van into a camper van. On the side, she moonlights as a freelance quilt designer. You can find her on Instagram here.
Read more guest posts from Anita here.
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