Posts Tagged: perseverance

Perseverance: The “Hooah!” of Christian Discipleship

Romans 5: 3Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And 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.

My sciatic nerve is damaged. I have had pain every single day for the past eight years and it would be weird if one day the pain was suddenly gone. I have learned to adjust how I sit, stand and move to keep the pain at a tolerable level.  My grandfather, on the other hand, burnt his foot because his nerve receptors were destroyed and he didn’t know he had stepped on hot coals. Which would you rather?

Losing Jonathan hurts worse then any other pain I have experienced. I could try to avoid it, many do, or I can allow it to teach me perseverance. Some translations use the word endurance, but I see perseverance as the “Hooah!” of Christian discipleship. Perseverance comes from the gut of our spirit, and is an outward acknowledgment that I hear, understand, and obey the will of the Lord. When I persevere I am allowing God to draw out my character, which makes the impossible possible (hope) and displays God’s glory. At my core is the knowledge that God will not fail me.

Many of us endure trials, but not many allow those sufferings to complete the work in us so that we are not lacking anything (James 1).  That is what my suffering has the potential to do. Jonathan death motivates me to speak boldly on the behalf of others, to be aware of depression and suicide in a way that I never have before, and to seek the face of God every day. I know the pain will not always be this severe. But until that moment comes the pain is necessary and teaches me the discipline of perseverance. Hooah!!

Grandma’s Perseverance Lessons

Psalm 105:8 He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations . . .

My grandmother on my father’s side laughed like a teenage girl. I loved to hear her giggle. One summer I got to spend several weeks with her and heard stories that she never shared with me before. Behind that giggle was a whole lot of suffering. It was impressed upon me that she had a resilience, that at sixteen I did not have, but longed for.

Grandma’s father died when she was a little girl and when her mother remarried her step-father wasn’t so interested in the baggage of a daughter. So my grandmother was passed from relative to relative until her siblings started arriving and then she was brought back home to be a babysitter. She did not hold a grudge! When she was older three of her sisters died because they got caught in a whirlpool and drowned. My grandmother, who could not swim, stood on the shore and watched the whole devastating moment. She lived through the great depression, wars, and a husband who was a very harsh and unforgiving man. As a grandfather he had softened and I only caught glimpses of his stubbornness. She loved him with every fiber of her being and I got to witness that love. She lost a grandson, whom lived with her for a while when his own parents discarded him, and then suffered, like me, the loss of him through suicide.

Yet, despite all of these experiences, she laughed and celebrated life to the fullest. She shared her faith with me at a little white church in the country. She played cards with me and taught me how to make butter milk toast when she was sick. I loved her tea, her stories and everything about this five foot nothing, curly red haired, now turned grey with wisdom grandmother.

I was always struck by her quiet perseverance. As I persevere through my own loss and tragedies, I too learn to laugh, celebrate and live life to the fullest, what ever circumstances may come. Thank you grandma!

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