Monday, June 23, 2008

One Step Closer

"By perseverance the snail reached the ark." ~Charles Spurgeon~

Of all the values we can become skilled at and teach the next generation, I would have to say in my opinion is perseverance. To me perseverance is the cornerstone of true character.

Beginning with Noah, who spent 120 years building an ark, the bible is filled with stories of people who persevered. Men and women who never lost hope and stayed faithful because of the promises given to them.

In every generation there have been countless examples of men and women who, against all odds, tribulations, and opposition continued to press on until their dreams were fulfilled.

There are so many stories in the Bible that inspire, instruct, and instill courage within us to hold on to hope even when it defies all the odds. Through all of these stories run the common threads of endurance, determination, and perseverance.

One of the most precious and highly valued gems known to man is the diamond. Once just a piece of black coal, put under the pressure and heat of the very earth itself, now transformed into a beautiful crystal clear stone that sparkles as it reflects the light of the sun. (amazing I watched this process just today on TV!)

In the animal kingdom we see the caterpillar that builds a cocoon before becoming a butterfly. With each stage of the process there is a necessary struggle to become what it was destined to be. And like the caterpillar, each time we persevere through difficulties we are actually taking one step closer to becoming what God intended us to be. We are being transformed into more and more into the image of His son.

One of my most favorite chapters in the bible paints a vivid picture of perseverance. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is often referred to as Faith’s “Hall of Fame” because of it applauds the perseverance of many saints who against tremendous odds continued to persevere.
This one chapter summarizes some of the greatest accomplishments by those who chose to follow God no matter what the consequences. These are truly the heroes of faith whose lives are now examples to anyone who has put their hand to the plow and wants to follow after God.

So, what does perseverance look like in your life today? How can we learn from those who went before us? How can we truly spur one another on in this great race, which has been set before us? May God help us as we journey on to not loose sight of those who have cleared the path before us; else we grow weary and loose heart. But we are not the kind that should draw back, but like our Father Abraham, we will not turn back, but will keep our eye on the prize set before us.

I’d like to conclude with a poem I read recently called "Don’t Quit".


When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
when the funds are low and the debts are high,
and you want to smile but you have to sigh,
when care is pressing you down a bit - rest if you must,
but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
as every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow -
you may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a faint and faltering man;
often the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victor’s cup;
and he learned too late when the night came down,how close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out - the silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
and when you never can tell how close you are, it may be near when it seems afar;
so stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit -
it’s when things seem worst,you must not quit.

Author Unknown
Please join us over at Deborah's Chocolate and Coffee and see what other's have written on this quote today!

15 comments:

Denise said...

Awesome sweetie.

~ Mhay ~ said...

Hi Susan. I love that poem. I have memorized it since highschool and whenever I'm in a difficult situation, I recites it over and over in my mind :)

Great post :)

jamie in rose cottage said...

Great post! That "hall of fame" chapter is one of my favorites; I like to think of those great heros of the faith cheering for me and you and all the rest of us!

Laurie Ann said...

What a great post, Susan. It really spoke to my heart. May God bless you for sharing that with us. And I love that poem, too.

Maxine said...

What a fantastic post! I love the doctrine which is called "Perseverance of the Saints", but the doctrine which accompanies it is the "Preservation of God." They go hand in hand. I love your approach to this quote and the examples you chose. What a blessing to start my day. So glad I stopped by.
As a friend of us always says when he says goodbye: "Keep pressing on."

luvmy4sons said...

Great exhortation. I have seen that poem before, and it is SO good. Thank you.

Christina said...

Bravo. I especially like where you wrote about the diamond. How it starts as a piece of coal and one day becomes the most brilliant of stones. Kind of like us starting out as new Christians and persevering through this road we call life, until we are rewarding with walking in Jesus presence. Just like brilliant diamonds surrounded by our Father's love.

Kim said...

Hey Susan~
What an amazing post.....just one more example of why I left you an award.

Stop on over and see.

Kim~

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Susan...

What a timely word! Let me tell you what God is teaching me about keeping to the race.

Hebrews 11 is a faith-filled chapter, but Hebrews 12...(I think verse one...don't have my Bible with me) tells me that since I am surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, I should throw off everything that so easily entangles and hinders me and run the race set before me.

I'm going for broke girl, knowing that in the end, the wealth of heaven is mine!

peace~elaine

lori said...

You'll laugh...that poem was one that dad had in his office....and recited to us ALL the time....
You brought back memories for me....

You know at Hayden's tae kwon do, they say..."Quitting is not an option." talk about life lessons....

loved it today....what a perfect way to end the day!!
you always, always bless!
hugs,
lori

Joyful said...

Susan, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a precious comment.

As I read this post I was thinking too of the pearl and the opal, other gems that shine after much endurance.

Great post - a real blessing!
Joy

Faithful Froggers said...

Oh, Susan, I enjoyed your post today. It is so hard some days to "persevere" but you truly inspire me to keep pressing on! And the poem was perfect!

Thanks so much for sharing!

Sheryl said...

Susan,
First of all thank you once again for your words of encouragement. Every time I notice that you have left a comment, I know I will be blessed!!

I feel like the snail! The pace is so much slower than I want. I want healing of my illness and my marriage NOW. But God is telling me to wait and I am learning perserverance. I'd have to admit I'm not the happiest student at times! Thanks for another great post.

Love,
Sheryl

Amy S. said...

Susan,

I just loved this post. It gave me insight to keep persevering no matter what. Some days it is quite hard. I remember that poem from long ago. It was nice being reminded of it again. Seems it has a whole new meaning as we get older... :)

Love and Hugs...

Tammy said...

What a wonderful post...thank you for this, and for sharing that inspiring poem, too.
I needed this today...

Blessings,
~Tammy