Have you ever started a home renovation project, thinking it would only take approximately 2 weeks to complete and it ended up taking 2 years? How did you feel when it was finally completed? Did you have a sense of accomplishment, glad you didn’t give up? What about exercise? Have you ever started out with the best of intentions, ready to tackle hiking the biggest mountain you could find only to discover half way up that you were far more out of shape than you realized … and then, dejected, you had to go home and face reality … the reality that it would take a commitment to exercising regularly … on a consistent basis … for you to be able to make it all the way to the summit … and not be in pain for days afterward. Then, did you make that commitment? Did you make the choice to continue? Did you make the choice to not give up? If so, you know what it means to persevere. James 1: 2-4 (NIV) says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” So, spiritually speaking, if you face a trial (or a difficulty) that requires making a commitment to continue exercising faith (faith to believe that God will help you and will continuously give you the strength to keep doing whatever it is He’s put in your heart to do, for example) you can be encouraged to know that this “exercise” will produce perseverance … and once you’ve persevered you will mature in your faith (and in your relationship with God too) … so the next time you face a trial or difficulty, you will be better equipped to handle it having already experienced God’s faithfulness in the past in helping and enabling you not to give up. Hebrews 13: 5-6 (NIV) declares, “… God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.” So, today, no matter what trial or difficulty you may be facing, you can remember the timeless truth of scripture that perseverance helps you to get through whatever you may need to go through as you continuously and consistently put your faith and trust in God … the only One who can and will be there for you to fully rely on … through it all. And if you happen to be someone who is new to the faith (or has renewed your faith in God) since this pandemic started, when it’s over and all the regulations and bans have been lifted remember that since God never leaves us, we should never leave Him either … not even when things get better. God is committed to having a relationship with each and every one of us for the long haul … and we need to be just as committed to never give up our relationship with Him either … then, and only then, will we have a testimony that we can share with others to encourage them in their faith as well … and, in that way, more and more people will learn to persevere in their faith and will learn how to overcome whatever obstacles come their way. Perhaps you … yes, you, the one reading this, have a testimony you would like to share with others to encourage them in their faith …perhaps you have experienced trials and difficulties and have learned first-hand that God is to be trusted … through it all. If so, I invite you to post a brief testimony of a time when you trusted God and didn’t give up … a time when you persevered … and saw positive things happen in the end. As you share a few words of encouragement in the Comments of this blog post, I believe you and others will be blessed. So, comment away … I look forward to hearing from you!