Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
It is said that Thomas Edison performed about 50,000 experiments before he succeeded in producing a storage battery. We might assume the famous inventor would have had some serious doubts along the way. But when asked if he ever became discouraged working so long without results, Edison said, “Results? Why, I know 50,000 things that won’t work.” A great attitude, isn’t it?
Persistence paid off for American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the planet Pluto. After astronomers calculated a probable orbit for this ‘suspected’ heavenly body, Tombaugh took up the search in March 1929. Time Magazine wrote an article about him:
He examined scores of telescopic photographs each showing tens of thousands of star images in pairs under the dual microscope. It often took three days to scan a single pair. It was exhausting, eye-cracking work in his own words, ‘brutal, tediousness.’ And it went on for months. Star by star, he examined 20 million images. Then on February 18, 1930, as he was blinking at a pair of photographs in the constellation Gemini, ‘I suddenly came upon the image of Pluto!’
It was the most dramatic astronomic discovery in nearly 100 years. Persistence—it does pay off!
Inspiring examples of persistence
In the Bible there was a blind man named Bartimeus, who heard that Jesus was coming his way and began to yell out Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! People around him kept trying to get him to quiet down, but the more they tried the louder he yelled. Guess what he got? Jesus’ attention and he received his sight—persistence.
There was a woman with an issue of blood for 12 long years. She pushed her way through a crowd of people, knowing that if she could just touch the hem of Jesus’ garment she would be healed. And at the instance she touched him she was healed—persistence.
Another story in the Bible I like is the one about Jacob and how he wrestled with the angel and he would not let the angel go until the angel blessed him. Yes, you guess it again: he received his blessing—persistence. Always remember the race is not given to the fastest nor to the strongest but to the one who endures to the end—persistence.
Many biblical stories show that people that persevered finally succeeded.
You shall get all that God has promised you as long as you don’t give up. Psalm 37:5 says, “Do what the Lord wants, and He will give you your hearts desire”. That means keep going when you feel like giving up, and God will bless your life.
Joseph from the Old Testament is a classic example of someone who persevered. He was favoured by the King—he had made it. But everything didn’t work out for him. He wasn’t always a success story. At the age of 17, ten of Joseph’s brothers ganged up on him, faked his death, and sold him into slavery.
His new owners took him to Egypt, and sold him to a man named Potiphar. Joseph proved to be so trustworthy that his master entrusted the entire handling of his affairs to Joseph. And then the trouble began.
Potiphar’s wife, who no doubt was used to getting her own way, took a fancy to the young Hebrew slave. Day after day, she pressured him to sleep with her. Finally, when he continually refused to sleep with her, she accused him of attempted rape, and Joseph was thrown in jail.
Betrayed by his own brothers, enslaved, wrongfully accused, jailed, Joseph didn’t get it easy. And yet he survived and is one of the greatest people of all time.
(To be continued in The Strength of Perseverance – Part 2)