Perseverance

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” – Philippians 4:13

A few years ago a friend and I went on a tour. One day we had the option of visiting a museum or hiking the Castelluzo, a mountain in Torre Pellice, Italy. We opted for hiking. We are a city girls. We have never climbed a mountain in our lives but we thought why not? We may never get another opportunity like this again.  So armed with bottled water and a lot of courage, we set off.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  There were about twenty of us or maybe less starting out.  The fast ones were way up ahead.  My friend and I were not part of the fast group.  But, we kept going. 

Up we went the grassy slope, at times steep and treacherous.  I prayed alot.  I prayed that no one would slip and fall to their death.  I prayed that I would be able to make it.  Up we went, slapping flies away, gripping rocks for support, our bare arms brushing against tall blades of grass and sweat pouring down our faces and bodies.  I felt as if someone had thrown a bucket of water on me.  A few people decided to turn back because they couldn’t continue.  For a moment my friend and I were tempted to go with them but then, we decided we had gone too far now to turn back.  So, we pressed on.

Finally, we reached the top.  And we sat there for a while, taking in the scene around and below us.  We had made it.  Our perseverance paid off.  We took a photo to capture the moment.  My friend and I had climbed a mountain, something we never thought we could do.  God was with us each step of the way.  His mighty angels surrounded us, keeping us safe. 

Going back down was another challenge.  By then our legs were like jelly.  But, again, we made it.  When we entered the dining room for dinner that evening, we were greeted with an enthusiastic burst of applause and cheers.  Our tour group was proud of us. 

Perseverance pays off.  We feel good about ourselves when we keep on keeping on even though we are tired, discouraged and are tempted to quit.  The apostle went through so many hardships that no one would have blamed him if he had decided to just throw in the towel but he didn’t quit.  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.   Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8).  The prize or the goal was too precious for him to give up the race. 

My friend and I wanted to do something we have never done before and by God’s grace, we were able to do it.  If there is a dream that you want to pursue or a goal you want to accomplish, go for it.  Keep your eyes on the prize.  Anything worth having is worth going after.  The apostles went after Jesus when He said, “Follow Me.”  Life was not easy for them.  They faced many trials and tribulations.  They were all martyred except John but the reward for all their troubles and hardships is eternal life with Jesus.  Like these great men of faith, we too should persevere. 

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