Perseverance is an active participation in the hardships life throws at you. Perseverance is a traveling from strength to strength—pulling yourself from one high point to the next by traveling through the low points in between. Perseverance is facing chemo and choosing to live through it; not just survive, but truly live—finding the joy in a sunny day, your husband’s tired face, your dogs’ enthusiastic greeting, and the first time your grandson rolls over. It means grabbing the oar when you are stranded in the middle of the ocean and paddling as hard and as long as you can.
Endurance is just buckling down for the long haul. It is holding on tight as the terrible winds of life toss you from one storm to the next. It involves closing your eyes and hoping for the best while singing a mindless tune to block out the noise of tragedy and loss. Endurance is what you do when you’ve decided you must just get through life. It invokes the nods of understanding from those around you; people think, “Poor dear, so much has happened to her. Her attitude is completely understandable.” Endurance is a part of everyone’s life at one time or another. Endurance serves its purpose when you helplessly watch your beloved grandfather be devoured by the evil craving of cancer or when you first hear that your life may always involve the pain and insult of chemo and the longing for remission.
But then you can choose to persevere—moving beyond mere endurance to live a life abundant. In choosing perseverance, you’ve chosen the life Jesus promised you, and therefore you go beyond incurring the understanding of others. Perseverance inspires, because it creates a life that is foreign to earthly living. A life of perseverance is full of love, laughter, celebration and triumph, for a life of perseverance never closes its eyes, never sings a mindless tune and never blocks out the noise of tragedy and loss. For to do these things, you would also block out the sun, your loved ones’ smiles, your grandson’s first laugh and the small still whisper of God saying, “I am with you.”