By Pastor Anthony L. Scott
One of the most memorable stories I can remember while attending Thomas Edison High School was about how the famous inventor tried again and again to find the right filament for the incandescent electric light bulb. One day he had completed his 10,000th experiment only to discover another way that would not work. When he arrived home that night, he shared this bit of news with his wife. She responded by saying, “Aren’t you discouraged? “ He remarked back, “Discouraged?” “Certainly not! I now know 10,000 ways that won’t work!”
Perseverance seems to be an outdated concept in our day of instant everything. If it doesn’t come easy, why pursue it? If it’s hard or requires endurance, maybe it isn’t your thing.
God encourages the discouraged to persevere. He cares about the discouragement we are facing. The Lord does not ask us to gloss over or ignore our situation. He simply asks that in all our troubles to remember that He understands and cares for us.
God is well aware that delays will come and in there coming we become discouraged. Outside opposition and criticism will surface, and when they do, we will become discouraged. Inside pessimism, comparisons, and faulty expectations are likely to appear and also discourage us.
God’s word to us when we are discouraged is to persevere. Three times the Lord repeats “Be Strong!” (“Take Courage.”) He tells the children of Israel to keep going! From this lesson we can glean a few helpful points to encourage us in our discouragement.
There are two aspects to perseverance: an attitude and an action. The wrong attitude comes when we take our focus off the Lord and onto what seems to be a slow disappointing process. Your attitude affects your ability to continue. God says, “Be Strong!” We aren’t strong in our own strength, but in God’s strength
Perseverance also requires the right action. Attitude provides the motivation but motivation without action won’t lead to progress. Being steadfast is a combination of inspiration and perspiration. Madam C.J. Walker said, “I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”
God assures the discouraged by His presence and His promise. The assurance of His presence should lift the cloud of discouragement and enable us to press on. When we grow discouraged, remember His promise that He will not leave us and will come to us.
During a Monday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants, one of the announcers observed that Walter Payton, the Bears running back, had accumulated nine miles in career rushing yardage. The other announcer remarked, “Yeah, and that’s with somebody knocking him down every 4.6 yards!” Walter Payton, one of the most successful running backs in history, knew that everyone, even the best get knocked down. The key is to get up and run just as hard.