Per·se·vereˌ pərsəˈvir/ verb: continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success. Facing difficulty with little to no prospect of success.
Oh my goodness… by that definition, the outlook is so bleak! Persevering without hope, without Christ, is bleak at best. Persevere is a verb. An action word. I would like to propose the idea of persevering as waiting while moving forward. That sounds a bit more hopeful, right?
If we persevere with Christ there is always hope. With Christ, we can forge through. With hope, we can hang on, sometimes by the tips of our fingernails, but we can do it. We can have confidence that we’ll make it because we know how the story ends.
There are so many stories in the scripture of those who waited. Those who forged through and survived. Maybe not always with the best attitudes but they persevered. There were even some who died not getting to see what it was they were waiting for – their “promised land”.
Abraham and Sarah waited for a baby. Joseph waited to be rescued from the well. Jacob waited for his bride, twice. Anna waited at the temple to see Jesus as she was promised. Paul waited in prison. God’s people waited for their Messiah for centuries. There was a period of time, 400 years as we’re told, when God was silent. Then He sent Jesus. Do you think He was just hanging around twiddling His thumbs? Nope. He was up to something. I take great comfort in believing that in our waiting, when God seems silent, He’s up to something big. He’s got a plan. His timing is not our timing. We just have to wait for it. We have to wait for Him.
We wait for something every day. We wait for that phone call. We wait for the paycheck. We wait in the line at the grocery store. We wait for bedtime or we wait for the coffee to finish brewing. We wait for the marriage to heal. We wait for our prodigal to return. We wait for the treatment to work. We wait through years of infertility. We wait for the ultrasound for positive news. We wait for our soldier to come home safely. Productive persevering is waiting for something to move.
As I think about things that have helped me persevere in challenging times, one of the main things has been music. Music connects my heart to God’s like nothing else does. I hope these songs can bring you comfort and hope in your waiting and in your moving – as you persevere.
By perseverance, the snail reached the ark. ~Charles Spurgeon
Be Okay Not Being Okay
Be honest with yourself. It is okay to not be okay. You know that, right? Give yourself grace even if others don’t. Take the time to do the work you need to do. You are worth it. And I don’t mean that in an entitlement kind of way. It’s not like “you deserve a king size Reese’s peanut butter cup: kind of worth it. You are worth it in a way that you deserve to be healthy. You deserve to be whole. You deserve to take the time to get where you need to go. One day, you will be okay. Just maybe not right now.
Jason Gray, Not Right Now
I can’t imagine walking through my “waiting rooms” alone. I’ve been so incredibly blessed to have a small handful of friends camp out in my “waiting rooms” with me. One friend calls it her “holy honor” to be an encourager and a listener to my story. I love that. I love her.
We simply aren’t meant to do all of this life stuff on our own. The good, the bad and the ugly. We need people. We need good people. One good person will do, really. We need that friend who is willing to look down into our soul and not be scared away.
Sara Groves, Blest Be the Tie
Often, in our waiting times, we get busy. Too busy. “If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” (Adrian Rogers) Jesus rested. He spent time in the wilderness. He prayed alone in the garden. He knew how important it was to get away to recharge and to commune with His Father. He also knew about this waiting business. He was, after all, born waiting to die. God knew the importance of rest. He separated the day and the night so we would be forced to take a break. We need not work so hard. We are wearing ourselves out – even while we wait. If we continue at breakneck speed, we will get to our “promised land” too exhausted to behold it.
Andrew Peterson, Rest Easy
Stay and Go
Have you ever thought about how you can stay and go at the same time? We need to still our bodies. We need to be physically committed to staying in it. There’s so much bravery in the actively staying. While we wait, while we persevere (waiting with forward motion), we can simultaneously rest and run. Rest in Him and run towards Him. This surely goes against the laws of physics… but, God.
Lauren Daigle, My Revival
Raise Your Hands
This TED Talk (although it has nothing to do with the spiritual realm) describes how our posture changes our mood. I found it very interesting when I think about how my posture can change my perspective. What if just by raising our hands, we could literally feel better? Let’s take it a step further and imagine what might happen if we raised our hands for two minutes and lifted our hearts in worship? Our situation may not change. We may still have to wait. But we will feel better, more hopeful, while we’re waiting. In the TED Talk, Amy Cuddy says, “Tiny tweaks lead to big changes.” Raise your hands and wait for it. Wait for Him.
Christy Nockels, Waiting Here For You
Waiting is a period of learning. The longer we wait, the more we hear about him for whom we are waiting. ~Henri Nouwen
In our waiting, may we continue to learn more of Him. Hear more about Him. Maybe we persevere with hope and a song.
It’s gonna be worth it.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. Ephesians 1:7-10 NIV
A version of this was originally published on www.emptyplatefullheart.com and is used with permission.
Andrea Stunz is a committed wife, an incredibly blessed mom, a grateful mother-in-law and a ridiculously proud Gimi. She is a seasoned traveler from south Texas. Having visited countries all over the globe and lived in Brazil, Singapore and the UK, she finds hope and comfort in a beautiful sunrise and a good cup of coffee. Andrea is a self-proclaimed stumbling pilgrim who is ever so grateful for grace. She longs to encourage others in their stories by sharing a part of hers because “a story worth living is a story worth sharing”. Find more of her work over at andreastunz.com.