I love reading stories in the Bible of ordinary women of faith who had a great gift of perseverance. Women who feared God above all else and were utterly faithful to His call and commission on their lives. They have left such a legacy for us to be encouraged by as we see their devotion to and love for God as the greatest driving force, despite all odds.
Some of the more well-known women we glean from include Sarah, Esther, Ruth, Rahab, Mary mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene. There are also lesser known women whose lives of perseverance were noteworthy like Shiphrah and Puah – the midwives who refused Pharaohs order to murder all baby boys. There was also Phoebe who is mentioned by Paul as having a position of leadership in a cultural time when women weren’t as accepted as men in leadership. These women and many more are mentioned throughout God’s word as examples and encouragement for us.
As well as biblical examples, many of us will also be able to think of godly women in our own family, churches, or friendship circle whose persevering spirit has left a profound mark on us to this day.
Perseverance is so very important for every Christian. It’s what ‘keeps us keeping on’ as it were. It keeps us faithfully following Jesus, faithfully loving and obeying, faithfully enduring trials and overcoming temptation. It means we keep going and don’t give up. It’s operating from a place of faith not feelings. It’s being steadfast and immovable, enduring and pressing forward through difficulties, discouragement, and even opposition.
Thinking specifically of pastors wives today, perseverance keeps us focused on following God’s call in supporting our husbands in ministry. It keeps us focussed on our faith when circumstances make us want to flee in fear. Perseverance also keeps us praying for and encouraging our children in their faith, and loving them through every mistake they may make. Perseverance reminds us that the reward is worth the endurance, no matter what comes our way personally or in our church experience. It’s not just a good attribute, it’s also a mandate from God to persevere and not give up. ‘Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him’. (James 1v12)
At times we will feel discouraged, weary or wounded, but perseverance means we will not give up. History testifies to the great victories from both individuals and armies who persevered. Church history also testifies to the perseverance of those who were utterly devoted to following the will of God in spreading the gospel regardless of the cost.
Whatever it means for you and I to persevere, always remember that God can use both positive and negative situations as a platform to shape, mould, and mature us. We are not enduring or persevering on our own strength. It is in God and by His grace that we do so.
What a beautiful legacy to flow form our lives to bless others and bring glory to His name. There is a glorious day coming where heaven will reveal our victories, where persevering brought breakthrough, and breakthrough brought blessing.