Monday, May 8, 2017

The Art Of Perseverance

"But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded." - 2 Chronicles 15: 7

**Photography by Melissa Talbot**

If you read last week's post, it mentioned that I was part of rescuing a red-tailed hawk caught in barbed wire. After rescued, it was brought back to my house and laid on the lawn. There was an inner compulsion to help it.

I gave it food and water in hopes of strengthening it. Then found and called a wildlife rehabilitation facility that took the hawk and administered emergency care. I persevered by seeing the task through.

I even did a follow up call to the rehab center to find out the status of the hawk. Unfortunately, it had to be euthanized due to the severity of its injury.

While I had no expectations of the outcome, I have to admit that I was thrown for a loop. At first there was shock which turned to sadness, then disgust.

Why did I put so much time, energy, and resources into trying to save this bird? What was the point of persevering? Everything done in an effort to help the hawk, now seemed completely useless and futile.

Okay, wait a minute. Back up.

After thinking about the sequence of events for a couple days, the answer to those questions came. A great truth emerged as to why I did what I did. A truth that calmed the inner turmoil, instantly.

Hope. I persevered in seeing things through, hoping for a positive outcome. It was the possibility of something great coming out of a dire situation that drove the perseverance.

This overwhelming realization was causing me to reflect on the reason for perseverance in the bigger areas of my life. The reason was the same. Hope. I persevere in praying for a husband because of the hope of being married...soon.

I persevere in pursuing my passion for writing and speaking in hopes it will pay off, even though there is no real promise that any of it will. It's hope that comes as a result of persevering but it's also hope that encourages perseverance, producing even more hope.

The Bible talks about this very thing, perseverance. Romans 5, verses 3-5 say, "...we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us..."

It's true. In my own life, as time passes by and some things in life get really discouraging and hard, it's hope that just will not loosen its grip on my heart. As small as hope can become, it remains as a result of my perseverance to see life situations through. No matter how big or small.

It's like a fuel to my inner fire, keeping things going when reality bites and draws blood. It's the tag team of perseverance and hope that keeps me praying through the painful stuff.

I would rather learn the art of painting the portrait of perseverance than brushing the stroke of regret. The outcome may be unknown but it's the drive of perseverance that will keep me going, as long as it takes.

Encouragement for the week:

Ever wonder what the point of perseverance is if the outcome might be negative? What if the outcome wasn't negative but you gave up before knowing?

Is the fear of the ending a better reason to quit while you might be ahead? Wouldn't you always wonder, "What if?"

While these are all questions I have asked myself, many times, I always chose to see things through, no matter the outcome.

It was more important to persevere and overcome the fear of what the end might bring, than to never know. I pray that you would make that same decision in your own life this week, no matter what you are facing.

If you are a Christian, we have the joy of receiving great hope when we persevere in all things, difficult and easy.

If you are not a Christian, look for Jesus and you will find Him and the greatest hope to ever take up residence in your life and heart.

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