Last week I wrote about my 6-year-old son Zeke playing basketball. During his first couple practices, he experienced something new, hard, and uncomfortable. He even failed a little bit in catching and shooting the ball. I reminded him of what it means to persevere through hard times.
Perseverance isn’t for the weak. It’s tough! But in the New Testament of the Bible, James goes as far as to challenge us to consider hardships and trials JOY. How dare he! (Just kidding) He states: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Perseverance produces maturity. On the court that could mean a better jump shot. Or 3-pointer. Or other basketball jargon I don’t know. In life, perseverance also produces maturity. Similarly, Paul writes about “feeling good” about our trials in Romans 5. “But we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” And I think we can all agree that hope, especially the hope that comes only through Jesus, is the ultimate goal we’re after.
Hope for a winning game. Hope for the disease to be cured. Hope for an alcoholic family member to get sober. Hope to not be in the layoffs happening at work. But all the while knowing that even if our earthly hopes don’t come to fruition, we can still hope in Jesus collecting our tears, comforting us, and making all things new. Our ultimate hope isn’t in this life. Our hope is living in heaven with God for eternity.
At the root of that hope is perseverance. Because without it we’d just quit. And God didn’t put us on this earth to quit. He put us on this earth to persevere, all the while praising Him, and telling others about our great God.
So even if it’s encouraging my 6-year-old with a little more toughness, I can trust in the fact that I’m helping him plant seeds of perseverance now, so in the future when he faces harder trials, he’ll know how to persevere even through those.
Jennifer Grandlienard has a leadership development business, Jenn Grand Consulting, and also spends her time as a substitute teacher at Shawnee Elementary School, where her sons attend. You can follow her at @heyjenngrand on Instagram or on her website, jenngrand.com.