“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12 NIV)
Sometime during the day, I like to play a one game card challenge of Solitaire on my iPad. And my three year old granddaughter loves to watch the screen as I play. Sometimes I must persevere and play the game numerous times before I succeed. But when I do I receive a picture of a gold crown. And when this happens she begins screaming, you won, you won, you got a gold crown Grammy, you did it, good job. Her enthusiasm always makes me smile but it also reminds me of what is important: Persevering under trial, because when we have stood the test, as God’s people, we will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
And what a day and victory that will be. To stand before the Lord and hear Him utter the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your master’s happiness.” (Matthew 25:21 NIV)
Merriam Webster defines perseverance this way: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition: the action or condition or an instance of persevering: STEADFASTNESS
When we, as Christians, persevere amidst the difficulties and confusions of life we are being faithful to God. We are trusting that amidst it all He is working on our behalf. He is strengthening us. He is guiding us. He is comforting us. He is with us even though it may not feel like it. When I play my daily game of Solitaire, I do not know what cards will be exhibited or which cards will come up when I play the next one. And with each new card, I have to make a choice as to how to proceed, which card to match it with before moving on to the next unknown card.
Similarly, in life we never know what happening or card is going to show up that we will be called to play, which can often make for a lot of surprises that we may not want to deal with. Surprises that often call for perseverance and faithfulness to God on our part to get through them.
The good thing though is that God knows exactly what the next card in life is going to be dealt to us and He has promised us everything we need to play it well. For as the apostle Paul has written: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV)
In my game of Solitaire I can only win if I have cleared the main board of cards before the remaining cards in the deck are all used up. And sometimes this means I must persevere and keep playing until I win that gold crown. In life it can be similar. Challenges come and we can stumble and struggle and want to give up rather than persevere. But that is not what matters in the end. What matter is that we remain STEADFAST. That we persevere by remaining faithful to the faithfulness of God who will see us safely through whatever may come our way and in the end reward us with the crown of life He has promised.