“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” — James 1:12
Legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes was notoriously conservative in his offensive strategy, which was often referred to as “three yards and a cloud of dust.” Much of his offense was running plays — not very exciting, but quite successful! During his 27 years, OSU won 76% of its games and five national championships. The only problem with “three yards and cloud of dust” is you are continually faced with fourth-and-1. It takes a special kind of toughness to win with this strategy.
Life can be like that sometimes. In the face of adversity, we make small gains, then come up against a seemingly immovable wall. Weary and frustrated, we have two choices: break down under the pressure or break through the wall.
From a spiritual standpoint, Paul teaches, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).
Perseverance in the Bible is sometimes translated as “patience” because it refers to endurance — the ability to remain firm and unwavering to our purpose without succumbing to the pressure. That’s spiritual toughness. Note that the only way to develop perseverance is to endure suffering on God’s terms. And God’s terms are simple: Trust Me in your suffering (Jeremiah 17:7, James 1:12).
Through the process of suffering and endurance, God is transforming your character to be like Christ’s. That is the Lord’s ultimate goal for every believer (Romans 8:29).
— Jerry Birch, Cleveland Cavaliers chaplain
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