She was all dressed in pink. Ponytails tying back blonde hair. A sparkle in her eye. A quick laugh. Her dad beside her. Strong. Sure. Confident. And so was she. Her obstacle, a slack line in the park. She got up on the end, body braced. A tentative foot stepped onto the line. Foot sideways, arch on the line. As soon as the other foot joined her, her balance was lost and she quickly stepped down. A tinkling chuckle and some words to her dad and she was up again. This time arms outstretched for balance, foot on the line, a few more steps on the line and down she stepped again. This happened more than once. With a chuckle and a smile, she tried it again and again. Never giving up. Always willing to have another go at it.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 NIV
I’m not always so great at persevering. I like to take on the task, do it once, succeed, and then move on. I realize this is completely ridiculous. Who succeeds at something on the very first try? I don’t and I know it. But I have this unreal expectation that I will succeed all the time.
Not only is this bizarre but it sets me up for the most reliable of experiences – failure. I don’t like failure. It doesn’t feel good. It makes me quit sometimes. Quit, when I should try again. Quit, when I’m close to succeeding. Quit, when I really need one more attempt and then I’d get it.
I loved the girl’s spirit. Her failure did not define her. Every time she stepped down, it was accompanied by a chuckle, a smile, some words of advice to herself about what she’d try the next time she stepped up. And she did step up again and again. Each time with the hope that she’d make it further down the line than she had before.
That’s an attitude and disposition I’d love to mark my life. I pursued. I persevered. A smile on my face, a word of encouragement to myself and another try again.
A harvest is waiting according to the Apostle Paul. But it will come at the proper time. Not my time. The proper time. A time determined by my Heavenly Father who knows all things. And whose timing is absolutely perfect.
But it’s the continued doing good bit that has to be included. Weariness is a time when it’s easy to quit and give up. When tired takes over I’m more likely to pull the plug and give up. Paul exhorts me to continue on. To obey regardless of energy. To obey and continue doing the things God has called me to do.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 NIV
James’ persevere in trials is even harder to stomach. I don’t like hard things. I don’t like trials. But if I look back over the last couple of years and the trials placed in front of me, I wouldn’t change a thing. They were hard. They left me heart sore. But I’m not the same person I once was. I wouldn’t go back for anything. I’m better for having walked those valleys and experienced the valley of the shadow of death. The loss hurts but it has pushed me into the arms of my Savior in a way that has changed the trajectory of my experience. I’ve learned more about who I am. I’ve learned more about who He is. I’ve felt His love and mercy and grace even as the tears have rolled. He has held me close. His mercies have renewed me. Then, perseverance was worth it.
I may not like to persevere, but every time I have the blessings that awaited me were more than I could imagine.