I was down at the beach again for another day-away-to-pray (this is a day I take about once a month where I head down to the beach, set myself up in the back of my Tahoe/truck, and pray and journal my thoughts and conversations with the Lord), and as I am sitting there facing the ocean I have a fun vantage point of people out for their exercise. I see walkers, runners, skaters, bikers, skateboarders, people in wheel chairs, people on interesting cycles all covered with a windshield and cloth to limit wind resistance (yet it was not that windy out), and then there are those few times I saw someone riding by in a mobile elliptical contraption! I see all kinds of people; men, woman, families, groups of cyclists, young moms with jogging strollers, people walking their dogs (or giving them a ride on their bike), young, old, and everything in between…some looking like they have been exercising for years and some not so much…it’s quite a mix of interesting and intriguing people
Well, on this particular day I saw a person that caught my attention. (Now yes I do pray and journal and give God my undivided attention, but there are times between prayer, or as I am writing or thinking or pondering a thought I look up, or if I hear something and it gets my attention I look for a moment.) So as I was writing down some thoughts, I heard something…a shuffling. It sounded like what kid does when he is walking and notices sand under his feel and noise it makes when you let the sand slide under your shoes as you barley lift them off the ground, kind of like sanding wood. The sound caused me to look up and I was surprised to not see a little boy sliding around, but an older man jogging…well, more like shuffling. He looked like he was in his late 70’s and in full running gear; Nike shoes, jogging shorts, matching shirt, and head band. He was kind of short, normal build, but hunched over shuffling along.
As this man slowly made his way past me, I thought ‘Wow, good for him he’s doing his part to keep healthy.’ I even admired his perseverance and willingness to keep moving. The Bible has a lot to say about perseverance.
Romans 5:3-4 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Perseverance builds character.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.
And we continue on, persevering to live life God’s way – doing right. In that same way…
Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
For perseverance pays off.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
So, I was encouraged by this man as he was persisting, enduring, pushing through those natural temptations to just sit and do nothing. He did not look like that young athlete that passed him with a spring in her steps and singing along to her iPod. No he looked like this was a momentous effort, but I was proud of him and even shot up a prayer for him.
Then I thought a couple of things. First, I hope I can be that active when I get to his age. But I also thought of the other areas of my life and spent some time thinking. Am I persevering in my relationship with God? Am I persevering in my relationship with my wife, my kids, my family, and my friends? What about my health; exercise, eating right, getting the proper sleep, managing my stress? Am I persevering in my service to God, living out God’s unique call on my life, using the abilities, talents, gifts, and resources He has given me? As I spent some time pondering this, there were some encouraging affirmations God blessed me with and some exhortations. What about you? Why not take a moment and think about how you are persevering. What is God saying to you?
I went back to my time of prayer and journaling about an hour after the shuffling/persevering man went by, and I heard it again…that same shuffling. He was on his way back from where he had come from. Wow this old guy has been at this for an hour! That’s great endurance and great perseverance. I was impressed and a little shamed because after I have run for an hour I am whooped! He was looking the same and with determination on his face he pressed on. It reminded me of…
Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I thought about how easy it is to give up on things like goals, dreams, and even commitments. Too much in our world we are not encouraged to press on, to keep at it, to keep going. We are more taught to give up, give in, don’t work too hard. If it’s difficult it’s not worth it…good things come easy. Yet the discipline of perseverance does pay off.
Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
What things have you given up on because you just did not want to persevere even though you knew you should have? I know I was encouraged by this amazing shuffling man.
I was back at my time with the Lord and it happened again, another lap…amazing perseverance. After more time he was on his way back. This guy had been jogging for 2.5 to 3 hours! That’s perseverance! Incredible!! Wow! What if we all had that kind of determination, persistence, drive, tenacity, devotion to living life God’s way and living out His unique call on our lives? I believe we would see our world change. I know I’m encouraged…thanks to my new hero.
Seeking to live with amazing perseverance with you,