Written by: Tim Wood
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV)
Corrie ten Boom was a young Dutch Christian who helped many Jews escape the Holocaust before being sent to Nazi concentration camps. After World War II ended, she said that the people who lived through those camps were those who had the deepest faith. Why? Because faith gives you the power to hold on in tough times. Faith produces persistence.
Study after study has shown that one of the most important characteristics you could teach a child (and that you need in your own life) is persistence. It’s the ability to bounce back. It’s the ability to keep going. Nobody goes through life with an unbroken chain of successes. No one goes through life with the wind always at their back. Everybody has failures and mistakes. We all embarrass ourselves. We all have pain. We all have problems. We all have pressures. The people who make it in life persist.
Angela Duckworth calls this characteristic grit. According to Duckworth grit is the “power of passion and perseverance.” Our passion for Christ gives us the power to persist. Our passion for Christ produces grit in our lives. We keep going even when things go awry.
God doesn’t always take you out of the problem. He stretches your faith by taking you through the problem. He doesn’t always take away the pain. He gives you faith-filled ability to handle the pain. And God doesn’t always take you out of the storm because he wants you to trust him in the midst of the storm. God is developing grit in our lives.
Where do you get the grit to persist? Faith. It’s believing God could do something at any moment that could change the direction of your life, and you don’t want to miss it, so you keep moving forward. It’s believing that God will give you exactly what you need when you need it as you learn to rely on him to accomplish his purpose in you. Faith unlocks the promises of God, it shows us the power of God, it turns dreams into reality, and it gives us the grit to hold on in tough times.
Someone said, “Tough times don’t last; tough people do.” Paul’s life was characterized by tough times: afflicted, but not crushed, perplexed but not despairing, forsaken but not destroyed. Paul had grit. Paul persisted. My prayer is that we would do the same.