Growing up in the church and in Christian Education there are certain concepts that I heard a lot about but didn't really start understanding until I started really living life. I could imagine what the concepts meant, but it wasn't until I lived it that I thought "oh."
Perseverance is one of those concepts I heard about but didn't understand until now. And by "understand" I mean, I understand why perseverance is necessary.
Today we watched some re-runs of Little House on the Prairie (and by "re-runs" I mean, we own every episode and we are often nostalgic). We watched an episode where Mary has her first teaching job in a town she's never been to and she faces LOTS of opposition. I admired her persistence though. She stood up for herself and she kept faith. She spoke truth boldly no matter how much resistance she faced.
Of course, this is only a TV show and sometimes the theology presented in Little House on the Prairie is questionable...but I felt this particular episode was solid and it inspired me today.
James 5:11 "We count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."
At the end of this Little House on the Prairie episode everything worked out pretty nicely. All conflict was resolved, Mary was a recognized heroine, and it ended happily with Laura and Jack running down a hill. It was after all just a Little House on the Prairie episode.
It's tempting to say that in real life things don't end as happily. We have sad endings all the time in real life. Nine times out of ten when Mary's of the world face the issues she faced this episode, things don't end well! It's tempting to want to remind myself of that reality. But I think there's actually a more truthful and more important reality to remind myself of: things will end happily.
"The Lord is full of compassion and mercy!"
In Hebrews I read about people who kept the faith despite all odds and they never even got to see the happy ending in their lifetime, but God is still faithful. For believers, we have an eternal happy ending awaiting us.
When I think about the daunting perseverance ahead in my lifetime, this is the perspective I need to be reminded of. Not that "things don't work out happy like Little House on the Prairie" but that "things will work out joyfully, peacefully, miraculously in the very real promised future."
Persevere, it's not too long off.
Gratitude: Heaven is real and mine. And for the opportunity to go to Portland tomorrow to see some of my family for Thanksgiving.