Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
“The Life of Pi” is a work of fiction, but the hero, Pi, is remarkable in the intensity of his determination to survive shipwreck while sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. And Pi is still a teenager. Through months of fluctuating weather patterns, blistering heat and freezing nights, not to mention emotional roller coasters, Pi focuses on a solitary thing—survival. (You’ll have to read for yourself to see how it ends.)
Our lives, in a sense, are a story of survival in a hostile environment that does not seek our well-being. We, too, live with emotional highs and lows; with political and cultural storms; with relational fragility; and with instability on all sides. In only one place do we find security, survival, and that is in Jesus Christ.
When Jesus left his beloved disciples, he’d only given them a three-year crash course in surviving. He’d laid out the basic rules—primarily, just two rules: love God and love each other—and he’d said, “Do what I’ve done the way I’ve done it.” FOLLOW ME. And then he left them to work it out (Phil. 2:12). Life would be always accompanied by death (to the world and the flesh), and the way would be narrow with hazards. The cup would be bitter.
They would reach the Father’s house by persevering every day, every hour, and every moment. Paul would later say in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (ERV), “We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We often don’t know what to do, but we don’t give up. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed.” Paul calls this a “light affliction” and knows that all the things that sometimes weigh us down are not eternal. And so we persevere.
Persevering is not relegated just to spiritual giants. Any of us midgets can call on the power of God’s Spirit to keep going. It doesn’t take intellect or charisma to keep going. All it takes is determination to be faithful to God; to trust his promises; and to know that he will not fail. We put one spiritual foot in front of the other, and we take another step and then another.
He empowers us to persevere, to not give up, to keep going. And we will reap.
Father, may we keep our eyes firmly fixed on you, holding your hand, and following to the end. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.