This fuels perseverance …

While going through a particularly difficult time in my life, and feeling quite weary, I corresponded with a great church leader who responded with a letter of encouragement.

I still remember a line from that letter that buoyed me at the moment: “You’re tired, that’s understandable, but you’ll bounce back.”

He was right. I was tired at the moment, but God gave me the strength to bounce back, to persevere.

Encouragement is a vital fuel for perseverance. Even the great William Wilberforce found himself discouraged one night in the early 1790’s after another defeat 10 years into his battle against the slave trade in England. Tired and frustrated, he opened his Bible and started to leaf through it. A small piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the floor. It was a letter John Wesley had written to him shortly before his death. Wilberforce read it again:

“Unless the divine power has raised you up … I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that (abominable practice of slavery), which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing. Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might.”

Great efforts have often come to fruition because someone was encouraged at a moment of weariness. There are people in your life who are tired of the battles they are having to fight; are you encouraging them? Are you a source of encouragement to others, or do you just add to the weight the world puts upon them?

Some of you need to be encouraged, and I want to assure you that your perseverance through the trials you’re currently facing will be worth  taking on the struggles to endure.

George Muller gives us a good example of how persevering is worth our efforts. One day Muller began praying for five of his friends. After many months, one of them came to the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took 25 years before the fourth man was saved. Muller persevered in prayer until his death for his fifth friend, and throughout those 52 years he never gave up hoping he would accept Christ. His faith was rewarded, for soon after Muller’s funeral the last man was saved.

Let this word from the Bible be an encouragement to you today: “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him,” James 1:12.