The Truth about Perseverance
When you fall down you're supposed to dust yourself off and get back up. As the saying goes, "Never ever give up." Well I fell once, then twice, and again a third time. With each progressive failure, it was harder to get back up. At times it was difficult to hear God's voice in my life and yet deep inside my being I felt the call to use both my hands and push myself back up; to keep trying and not give up.
Don’t get me wrong; failing was a difficult thing to stomach. With each failure it was harder and harder to understand what exactly went wrong. I prayed strongly for what I wanted and I worked hard to get it.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” -Mark 11:24
I read this verse and etched it into memory. This was the verse that sustained me and gave me hope. I believed with a full heart that my prayers would be answered. Sure enough, four times God answered my prayer -- it just so happened that the first three times His response was “No, not yet.”
With each upset, I had to refocus myself. I took a step back and tried to look at my situation with fresh eyes. In these months of confusion and delay, I did the only thing I could think of: I prayed even more. Using the She Reads Truth devotionals and Bible studies as guides, I delved deeper into the Living Word, reading stories of redemption, love, leadership and steadfastness. I leaned more into God, allowing Him to mold me and make me stronger.
Over time, my prayer changed. Whereas earlier I prayed only for my specific request, I was now adding to my prayer. I asked the Lord to strengthen my faith and change my heart so that I would seek Him more. That He would teach me His ways and that I would be steadfast in faith to Him no matter the circumstance.
One of the stories I read and learned from the most was the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was the cupbearer of the King. When he heard about the devastation and destruction of his home, Jerusalem, Nehemiah made a request of the King. He asked the King to give him all the necessary tools and supplies to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Throughout his efforts of rebuilding the wall, Nehemiah faced much opposition and difficulties, but through it all, he persevered because he relied on God. With each obstacle that blocked his way, with each person that opposed him, Nehemiah fixed his eyes on the Lord and continued to do the hard work he was already doing. He refused to give up.
Persevering isn’t easy. It means getting up when you’re knocked down, even if staying down is easier.
Sometimes, if you belong to a supportive community, there will be a loving hand reaching out to help you up. However, there will also be times where you alone will have to push yourself up. It’s during these times that it is important to fix your eyes on the Lord and the hope He offers. His is the hand that is always extended to help you -- if you only reach for Him.
One of my favorite poems is a poem called Time Tested Beauty Tips. Written by Sam Levinson, it was made famous by Audrey Hepburn. The poem in its entirety is a beautiful reminder of what is truly attractive in a lady. In the middle, the poem speaks:
“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
Dear friend, when you are faced with adversity and obstacles, I hope you remember this: when you are down, the only place left to go is up. Push yourself. Be both willing to help yourself and also to allow yourself to be helped by others. You never know who you may inspire to persevere through their own battles.
In a season of disappointments and trials, God used my failures and shortcomings to teach me a few lessons about life and about seeking Him. Lessons that have lead to living a changed life; a life where the labors of a hard road lead to a beautiful destination.
// image by Ellie DuHadway