The book of Hebrews was written to a group of Christians that were experiencing a great amount of adversity in their lives. They stood their ground in the face of suffering, public exposure to insult and persecution and they joyfully accepted the confiscation of their personal property. The reason they persevered was because they knew they had better and eternal lasting possessions. They knew that they had eternal possessions with God in heaven. Hebrews 10:32–34 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. This group of people were experiencing persecution and hardship for their faith in Christ. Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
The writer of Hebrews reminds them later in chapter 12 that they should continue to run the race and persevere and overcome the adversities that they were experiencing at this time. Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Perseverance is a quality of character that enables one to pursue a goal in spite of obstacles and difficulties. It is commendable to bear up under adversity. God calls us to do more than bear the load of adversity. God calls us to persevere, to press forward, in the face of the most difficult adversities. The writer of Hebrews focuses on reaching the goal. When you have done the will of God, run the race marked out for us. We are to be active not passive. We are called to pursue diligently the will of God. This requires great perseverance in many cases.
While Wilma and I were in Colorado about 20 years ago on vacation, we were driving up a very steep incline and from the highway we could see a freight train going in the same direction at a much slower speed. The freight train was being pushed up hill by three locomotives that sounded as if they were straining at full power. We are from Texas and on the plains of Texas we didn’t see freight trains being pushed. Is this the kind of power that it takes to move trains over mountains? I wondered.
A few minutes later we gradually came along-side the front of the nearly mile long string of freight cars. There we found five more locomotives pulling the train. Eight engines in all! Where we came from, we rarely see more than three engines pulling the freight train.
That train is an excellent object lesson on perseverance. I had been under serious strain for some time. I was working on a project for a major credit card company that consisted of two locations one in Phoenix and one in Minneapolis. I was feeling tired and was wondering whether I could persevere under the pressure.
How like God, I thought. When we are pushing a load up hill with all the strength we have and feel like our energy level is depleted, He wants us to know that He is in the lead pulling with power far greater than ours.
When Jesus fed the 5000 we see a great example of Jesus helping us to persevere, depend, and trust that he will provide all that we need in a timely manner. John 6:9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” The loaves referred to in this passage were thin and small like good-size crackers probably made out of barley, and the fish were probably the size of sardines, just enough to feed one hungry boy.
George Cullum Sr. said it this way: “When the rock is hard, we get harder than the rock. When the job is tough, we get tougher than the job.”
What are some things that you use to help you to persevere through trying circumstances?