The possession of certain qualities in life will not necessarily mean things will go smoother for us, but will ensure progress and at times, success. Persistence is one such quality. It is defined as the firm continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty. Recently I saw firsthand one example of persistence, and the world watched the other. I'll start with that one.
Diana Nyad, age 64, began thirty-five years ago pursuing a goal of swimming from Cuba to the coast of Florida. She made her first attempt in 1978, and then three more attempts in 2011 and 2012. On Saturday, August 31, 2013 she slipped into the waters at a marina in Havana determined to reach the southernmost coast of the US near Key West without the use of a shark cage or flippers. Nearly 110 miles and 54 hours later, she arrived on the sands of Key West, greeted by a crowd of supporters who celebrated the accomplishment as Nyad challenged everyone to "never, ever give up." Did I mention that she is 64?
The other involved a member of my own family, my youngest son Caden who, at the time, was six. During the summer he decided it was time to take his training wheels off his bike. Up to this point, I was three-for-three in teaching my kids to ride with no training wheels. I ran with Caden, holding the back of his seat so he wouldn't fall over, while he tried to adjust to shifting his body weight and balancing. It didn't go well. I was sweaty with an aching back and he was frustrated after thirty minutes of trying. We tried a couple of more times, but then decided to put the wheels back on.
A few weeks later he said he wanted to try again, so I promised him that I would take them off and we would practice some more. We did, and within 15 minutes an important milestone in a young boy's life was reached as he mastered the art of riding without training wheels.
What have I learned through my years of life and ministry about persistence? Here are a few:
1. The easiest thing to do when you can't do something is to quit.
2. One of the most rewarding things in life is learning to do something you couldn't do before, or accomplishing a goal you have worked to accomplish.
3. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward.
4. A life of persistence is not for sissies!
5. The Bible teaches us that if we will persist, refusing to quit, God's reward WILL come. (Galatians 6:9)
6. Failure is not failure until you decide you will not try again.
You may be on the cusp of a breakthrough today. Much is at stake, so hang in there, press through, and if you fail, try again.