Growing up I was fortunate to have lived near lakes and water. Water and water activities were part of our family life. My mom never learned to swim. However, she knew living around water posed many dangers as well as joys and fun. Therefore, swimming lessons became a normal summer activity. Our first swim lessons were at CSU with the CSU swim coach, Mr. Solo. He was a no-nonsense coach. “Learning to swim is serious business,” he would say. “We are here to learn, not have fun! Fun is what you do after you have learned the skills of swimming.” If I could put it another way, he was telling us that you cannot save others until you can save yourself.
Looking back on my life, I have come to realize how powerfully true that is. We cannot save someone until we let Jesus save us and teach us to swim. Learning to swim is not easy. There are fears, hard work, frustrations, trust issues, and even doubt that occur during the learning sessions. But as we persevere and endure, each lesson yields confidence and assurance that we can do it! The end result is a freedom that brings assurances, safety, fun, and even joy in teaching others.
Giving up and giving in was not something I grew up embracing, thank the Lord. Perseverance and endurance are about steadfastness, despite difficulty in achieving success. There were many times when I did not want to go to swimming lessons, but in the perseverance, endurance, and steadfastness of it, I learned to swim.
Looking back, that process was not easy, but God was teaching me some important lessons, some of which I am still learning at the age of 68. I have found that being a mom, a wife, a pastor’s wife, a sister, a friend, and a child of the Most High God is not for the faint of heart. It is a constant journey of perseverance, endurance, and steadfastness.
My husband taught me long ago that the only three things that last for eternity are God, His Word, and people.
“Therefore, how then do we live? We live being justified (made right) by faith, having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”(Romans 5:1-5)
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” (1 Cor. 13:7)
“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. ‘For yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in Him.’ But we are NOT of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”(Hebrews 10:35-39)
“Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness, endurance, and perseverance. And let that steadfastness, endurance and perseverance have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-3)
With this steadfastness, endurance and perseverance there is Great Reward, as James shares with us in James 1:12. “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast, endures and perseveres under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.”
I don’t know about you, but I want Jesus to place that crown on my head so that I might place it at His feet!
Persevering and enduring in the face of hardship, difficulties, and discouragement produces a life well lived.
“Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness and godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)
Keep on keeping on, dear ones! With God’s enabling power and strength we can do this!