One of my favorite sci-fi comedy shows is Galaxy Quest. The saying: “Never give up! Never surrender!” is used by a tv character who actually ends up with an alien encounter. The aliens believe he is truly his character rather than a has-been actor. Throughout the movie they use the phrase, “Never give up! Never Surrender!” The phrase is pivotal in the final plot line. Buzz Lightyear, one of the beloved characters from the Toy Story series, also uses this term frequently and indeed, he used it before it appeared in Galaxy Quest.
I had the privilege of speaking at an assistant living facility and spoke about patience and perseverance. Patience or perseverance is mentioned 44 times in the New Testament. Not only is it mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 where Paul talks about fruit of the Spirit, it is also mentioned in 1 Timothy 6:11-12, and 2 Peter 1:5-8, along with other qualities we need to be cultivating in our lives.
As frequently happens when I speak, the issues I addressed hit me squarely where I am. It is easy to get discouraged and quit. Honestly, there are times when I am trying to work on my book that I am ready to give it all up. This week has been one of them. But I realized as I spoke that maybe this topic was more for me than for the people I spoke to whom I was speaking.
It is a lot harder to get up and try again when we find ourselves failing at something, than it is to just quit and go on to something else. But people who are successful in life are those who can face odds, make mistakes, have failures, and still persevere. If you study the histories of people like Michael Jordan, Harry Truman, Louis Pasteur, Helen Keller, Rudyard Kipling, and yes, even Abraham Lincoln, you will find individuals who overcame odds and obstacles to have huge accomplishments.
The fact is challenges and troubles help us develop perseverance in our lives. It is hard to acknowledge, but trials and testing are actually good for developing our character. James 1:2-4 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.
In Romans 5:3-5 Paul notes, “We also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
So today think about the things in your life you have overcome so far, and keep on going. Develop perseverance in your life because good things can come from it. As for me, after my speech I realized it was just the motivation I needed to renew my determination to write on my book again!
I have always like the poem “Don’t You Quit” by Edgar A. Guest. So here it is.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow
You may succeed with another blow
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.