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  • Writer's pictureA Musing Pastor

Endeavor to Persevere

The title of this read sounds like a lot of work. It is. The origin of the title comes lately from a dated movie from the 70s.

{Lone Watie (Chief Dan George) utters the immortal words, "Endeavor to persevere," to Josie Wales (Clint Eastwood) in the 1976 classic western, The Outlaw Josie Wales.}

This morning, as I sauntered through some Bible reading, the verse from Romans 5 rose to the surface and reminded me of the work involved in living in a fallen world.

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." (Romans 5:3-4, NIV)

It's no secret that Tracie and I love to hike, and we continue to highlight miles and miles of trails in central Pennsylvania we have navigated together on our trail map. There is one dynamic of our hikes that is mostly prevalent and that is when one of us while hiking a steep path will invariably say, "I think we're almost to the top." Either I will say it, or Tracie will but in either case we've found our wishful thinking to be a giant puff of smoke out our ears. We giggle a little and keep hiking upward.

With each new bend in the path, another elevation rise will stare back at us and smirk. The struggle is real and the sweat pours through every pore of our bodies. The weight of our backpacks call into question our need to bring everything including a used kitchen sink. Hey, you never know when you might need all that stuff!

The travail of walking steep inclines mirrors in many ways our daily lives. The struggle of tired bodies, over-filled schedules, and broken expectations all have the capability of crushing us into dust. Some days it seems justified to throw up our hands and scream, "I quit!" Then in a moment of clarity, we are offered the opportunity to look into another person's life of trouble that makes ours looks like a walk through Longwood Gardens at Kennett Square. Have you met folks whose lives are filled with tragedy? Yes? I have too. When I have been sobered by the plight of others, I feel ashamed to have griped at all.

In nearly every hike, Tracie and I look for the payoff (The breath-taking vista that awaits us at the top) [Or seeing at least one snake is a win as well!]. Somedays, the payoff is "WOW" and other days it's "meh..." In either case, our work to get to the top wasn't in vain. We walked, we stopped, we opined that "the top is near", we were disappointed, we laughed, and we took appropriate rest stops. Through it all, the words of Romans ring true.

God desires that we grow in perseverance, character, and hope. Life is the ultimate classroom for finding, learning of, and applying these three big areas of spiritual growth to our life of toil and trouble. On days that we want to throw in the towel, we hear the words of Lone Watie, "Endeavor to Persevere". Keep going. God is leading. A reward awaits those who don't give up. Yes, it's difficult but God is good.

The image provided tells a story of struggle, uncertainty, sweat, several dozen tick removals, a few slips and slides but a payoff worth every inconvenience nature offered us that day in March 2021. We could overlook our town and had fun trying to pick out our home amongst thousands of buildings. {I think we gave up that endeavor since no field glasses were in our backpacks.}

With struggle comes reward. Not only the breathtaking view but the exercise we received and the trip back to the car was mostly downhill!

If your life is feeling a bit upside down right now, rejoice because God is using this difficult time to strengthen your life and is filling you with perseverance which builds good character that ultimately forms unwavering hope. Take a moment to lighten your backpack and discard that used kitchen sink. You'll not need it.

"A Musing Pastor"

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