Endure and persevere. If we asked our ancestors the way through a crisis, chances are good their advice would include those words. A person who has perseverance endures, no matter what the trials or how much suffering or grief they have to go through. It’s from the root word meaning “to remain under.” It means a person would be willing to remain under trials, if necessary, and to follow God’s way. But how do we find that depth and breadth of perseverance?
- Read Scripture. We all look for how-to manuals; and we have one in the Bible. You’ll find if you read the Bible regularly, you’ll be less likely to get upset. (The opposite is also true: if you’re not reading the Bible regularly you’re more likely to become stressed and overreact to little things.)
- Keep moving. Perseverance isn’t about standing still, it’s about moving: St. Paul likens life to a race, and his images are appropriate. The world is powerful and trying to pull us down with lies, but we can discipline ourselves, and we can run. We don’t merely brace ourselves for the things life throws at us. We run through them, and we’re not running alone.
- Get outside yourself. We’re not only meant to persevere through our own problems: St. Paul tells us we “bear one another’s burdens,” too. Connection to both God and others will give us the strength to keep moving through whatever is before us, and in helping others persevere, we learn to persevere as well.
We can learn from St. Paul. God helped him persevere through horrific experiences—being shipwrecked, beaten, hunted, mocked, and thrown in jail. And even with all of this God gave St. Paul a “thorn” to remind him even more how much he needed God. St. Paul understood that God’s grace is sufficient for anything he might have to persevere through. God doesn’t always save us from hard times, but he will always be with us through hard times.