“Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen. Perseverance means more than just hanging on, which may be only exposing our fear of letting go and falling. Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered.” – Oswald Sanders
Perseverance is a quality that is not only applied to prayer but also faith. It is a quality we all need to embrace. When there is perseverance in faith it stirs the motivation to pray. Persevering faith is the kind of faith that triumphs over trials and that endures persecution. It is the kind of faith that leverages the testimonies of past heroes of faith to press on to greater heights. It is the kind of faith that looks up to God for its sustenance. Persevering faith is inspired by the promises of Christ. It is the kind of faith that looks beyond the immediate suffering to a greater reward. It is the faith that sings to God in the face of trials and suffering.
Most times, it is the pursuit of his divine promises that spur us to persevere in faith. This was written of the earlier saints, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth”.
The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote this about those who persevered in faith. God used these saints as a pattern for others to emulate. In Hebrews 10: 32-36 we read,
“Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” (NLT).
The writer describes here some Hebrew believers who had enduring faith. Notice the commendable characteristics which these believers exhibited. They remained faithful in the midst of suffering. They faced public ridicule for their faith in God. In some cases they were beaten; other times they were jailed. They offered succour to others who were victims of persecution. When they were ex-appropriated of their possessions they accepted it with joy. They endured shame and deprivation because they looked forward to a better future. And for all these, the writer urged them not to give up their trust in God which has great rewards. That is, the desire for a better eternal reward is the motivation and necessity for persevering in faith.
The nuances of this digital age erode and pose great threats to persevering faith. Perhaps, no generation has faced greater risks of compromise, distractions and stress than this generation of believers. The reality of globalization and pluralism are more challenges to our faith than ever. Ironically, the same issues that pose great challenges to our faith are the same compelling reasons why we must hold out in faith without wavering.