For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. – James 1:3
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
In the 1800s, several different inventors were working on creating the light bulb. Thomas Edison is credited with the invention of the first commercially practical incandescent light bulb. Edison was persistent and systematic. By slow, tedious trial and error, he determined that a cotton thread filament was able to produce over 13 continuous hours of light. Edison filed his first light bulb patent in 1879.
Edison stated, “I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps. I know of over 3000 ways [that] a light bulb does not work.”
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone [prevail]” (Calvin Coolidge).
On May 3, 2011, Austin Bay wrote In Praise of American Persistence. “If your vision of America is shaped by the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, the building of the Panama Canal, the Battle of Belleau Wood, the Battle of Okinawa, the Manhattan Project, the Apollo program, the Internet and similar endeavors, a nation of genius, courage, and persistence emerges – a nation to emulate, not injure and anger.”
In modern times, enemies of America have sorely miscalculated its persistence. Many thought that America was “fatigued” and would fade as a dominant world power. Some suggested that America lacked the will to endure. It was referred to as a “weak horse.”
What was overlooked is that after the end of World War II, from 1947 to 1989, the United States successfully contained and ultimately triumphed over the U.S.S.R. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall cracked, and the Cold War ended. It was a seemingly incessant, protracted, and grueling international struggle.
“That took extraordinary persistence. It took resilient, adaptable, creative, and able American military and security services. Most of all, it took the basic, consistent support of the American people, the ones who go to work, pay the bills, wear the police and military uniforms, and, to paraphrase John Kennedy, will ‘bear any burden . . . to assure the survival and the success of liberty’” (Austin Bay).
REFLECT & PRAY
“Energy and persistence conquer all things” (Benjamin Franklin).
Proverbs 12:27 The precious possession of a man is diligence.
Father encourage me and strengthen me to respond properly to the trials and afflictions that I experience. Develop in me the precious possession of persistence.
James 1:3 The testing of your faith produces endurance.
The Greek word translated endurance or steadfastness is hupomone. Hupomone is the ability to withstand hardship or stress. It is the quality of persistence or fortitude. It can be translated persevere, patience, endurance, fortitude, long-suffering. It is the quality of character that does not surrender to circumstances or difficulties.
Persistence is like a muscle. It has to be exercised to grow and become stronger. The Father has seen fit to use testing, trial, trouble, adversity, stress, difficult circumstances, and heartache to develop and strengthen our endurance. It is the ability to bear up under.
It gives an entirely new perspective, a paradigm shift regarding the afflictions and trials, the vicissitudes of life. Seen from the Father’s perspective, they are intended to develop our character and make us more like the Lord Jesus Christ. The children of the King can rejoice in present trials and sufferings, not because trials are pleasant but because they produce a step-by-step transformation that makes them more like the Lord Jesus Christ (ESV notes).
But there is more Hupomone is not merely patiently enduring our circumstances. It actively vanquishes them. “It is the spirit which meets things head-on and overcomes them” (Barclay). .
“When Beethoven was threatened with deafness, that most terrible of troubles for a musician, he said: ‘I will take life by the throat.’ That is hupomone. When Sir Walter Scott was involved in ruin because of the bankruptcy of his publishers, he said: ‘No man will say “Poor fellow!” to me; my own right hand will pay the debt.’ That is hupomone” (Barclay).
All children of the King have within themselves the ability to not only “exult ‘in the midst of’ afflictions but that we are to exult ‘in’ the afflictions themselves: that is, to view them as a basis for further confidence in our redeemed status” (Moo). As our persistence grows, we will become more like the Lord Jesus Christ, we develop the attitude of welcoming and rejoicing in our afflictions.
“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence” (Colin Powell).
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” (Winston Churchill).