Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Nothing ever seemed to be easy for him. He was never the fastest or the strongest or even the least bit coordinated. That was why mom was so surprised when he came home from school one day to tell her that he had found his new favorite game to play: kickball. Each day he would come home and go on and on about how recess was the best time ever because he got to play kickball again. When the school field day came around, mom eagerly attended to see her son in action. To her surprise again, he was picked last, actually kicked the ball only once and never scored. Afterward, she asked if he had had fun and figured she might have to console him. He responded not with a pout but with the widest smile because that was the first day he ever kicked the ball.
That little guy certainly seemed like quite the pitiful case. Mom’s perspective told her that he had not accomplished much and probably had not enjoyed his game because there was no fruit to show. His perspective told him that he accomplished something great because he stuck it out until he saw a result, no matter how small. Perseverance drove that little guy to keep his nose to the grindstone and continue because there was hope for him to stop missing the ball and make contact one day. The appearance of his journey to others did not matter. His purpose was singular in doing what was necessary to bear fruit because he believed it was possible. How much more can we persevere when God himself assures us of the promise of victory in our work if we only keep moving forward!
God just wants us to keep going for it. He knows that we will hit the wall often and feel like we do not have the strength to climb over it. He knows that we will try and fail repeatedly before we find success. He knows that so much of what He requires will seem impossible to us. Pushing forward through all those challenges makes us loyal people of faith who look past the disappointments and focus on the successes He has guaranteed. That is the character that will keep us hopeful as times get harder and darker. Father, we welcome with gratitude the trials which will produce perseverance and its fruit in us.