In GOD’s Word, perseverance is the faithful endurance of life’s trials and hardships. Perseverance is the reflection of a believer’s faith and hope in GOD “to work all things for good.” In reviewing the last 12 years of his life, Joseph declared to brothers, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but GOD meant it for good, in order to bring about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).
GOD’s Word challenges us to persevere. I Peter 1: 6-7 offers profound insight into this significant character trait. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials. That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of JESUS CHRIST.”
I read the following story recently that illustrates this truth. On a commuter flight from Portland, Maine to Boston, Henry Dempsey, the pilot, heard an unusual noise near the rear of the small aircraft. He turned the controls over to his co-pilot and went back to check it out.
As he reached the tail section, the plane hit an air pocket, and Dempsey was tossed against the rear door. He quickly discovered the source of the mysterious noise. The rear door had not been properly latched prior to takeoff, and it flew open. He was instantly sucked out of the jet.
The co-pilot, seeing the red light that indicated an open door, radioed the nearest airport, requesting permission to make an emergency landing. He reported that the pilot had fallen out of the plane, and he requested a helicopter search over that area of the ocean.
After the plane landed, they found Henry Dempsey – holding onto the outdoor ladder of the aircraft. Somehow he had caught the ladder, held on for 10 minutes as the plane flew 200 mph at an altitude of 4,000 feet, and then, at landing, kept his head form hitting the runway, which was a mere 12 inches away. It took airport personnel several minutes to pry Dempsey’s fingers from the ladder.
GOD’s Word reminds us to “hold on” when the storms of life hit. GOD is present with us in the storm, and He is present in us working in us during the storm. That is the reason James exhorts believers to perseverance in chapter 1: 3-4: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
So, GOD’s Word reminds us to persevere when we encounter adversity in our lives. He is at work!