It began as an ordinary day for Harry. However, Harry was not an ordinary African Bull Frog. Harry weighed over 2.5 kg and when he jumped; his outstretched body measured 30 cm. in length. When danger threatened he could inflate his body to appear even larger. Therefore, throughout the swamp he was known as Huge Harry.
He spent his days feasting on insects and small fish. His song could be heard throughout the swamp. It was both a call for a female mate and a warning to males to keep away from the pond.
Hungry Harriet, a Yellow-billed Stork, had travelled a long distance before she discovered a swampy area where she hoped to find frogs. She was a metre tall and weighed barely more than Harry. It was hard to believe that her long, red slender legs could support her white round body. She heard Harry’s love song announcing his location to hungry birds and animals who like to eat frogs.
In the blink of an eye-lid, Hungry Harriet grabbed Huge Harry and hoped to swallow him head first. Quickly Harry inflated his body and his arms reached out of her bill, grabbing hold of Hungry Harriet’s throat so she could not swallow him. Try as she might, she could not swallow until he let go of her throat. But, if he let go of her throat, Huge Harry would become lunch for Hungry Harriet.
That day, both Huge Harry and Hungry Harriet faced a large challenge. There could be only one winner. Who do you think won? Who was successful?
(Persistence is what makes the impossible possible, the possible likely, and the likely definite.)
The Power of Persistence. Nature demonstrates this story in many ways. A seed from a tree will grow in the crack of a rock and eventually split it. Wind and rain move mountains and change shore lines. Successful people know the slogan that: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
If you remember this slogan you can have permanent, positive results. For example, persistence has been shown to be the single most important part of any exercise program. Those who exercised very strictly, but not regularly did not do as well as those who exercised mildly, but were persistent in their practice. Even though the group exercised far less (but did so persistently) they received much better results than those who exercised, though very strictly, only occasionally.
In 1951 and again in 1952 Edmund Hillary, a beekeeper from Auckland, New Zealand tried and failed to climb Mt. Everest. However, in 1953, Hillary and Tenzing Norguay, his guide became the first men to climb Mt. Everest and return. Remember, there is power in persistence.
Persistent Choices. Choices make a difference. Two people may be injured in the same accident. They did not choose to be in the accident. But they can choose to live the experience in bitterness or with thanksgiving. Such choices will influence their lives and the lives of their families and friends. We have very little control over what happens in our lives, but we have full control over how we remember what happens. Being persistent in making positive choices will greatly affect how successfully we live.
The people in cities who saw most of Jesus’ miracles did not believe in him. Yet Jesus continued to teach and heal because he knew that God is in charge, and his work will never be fully defeated. When your efforts seem to fail, rest in the knowledge that God has an eternal purpose. No one will ever defeat God’s plan for the salvation of all those who trust in him.
Persistent Goals. Powerful spiritual goals are worth seeking and will excite you to the depths of your being. A worthy goal must be something you emotionally want very much. (In the beginning you may not even believe that you can accomplish that goal.) However, think about how you might reach the goal and begin working on your plans immediately and continue persistently.
Persistent in your Decision. The greatest decision you will make is to surrender your life to God. Decide to follow the way of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah.
(Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.)
When God confirmed Jesus’ identity and mission at his baptism, Satan called it into question in the wilderness temptations. After each temptation Jesus responded by saying, “It is written“, and then quoted from the Scriptures. Fill your heart continually with the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit will use the words to encourage and strengthen you in times of temptation and testing by family, friends or others.
Persistent Supporters. Successful people avoid negative people and surrounded themselves with those who seek to achieve.
The most persistent supporter for believers is God. In the Garden of Gethsemane and again on the Cross, Jesus entrusted himself to our Heavenly Father’s keeping, confident that death would not have the final word. Sometimes life gives no answers, no solutions, no escapes. But God is always faithful, and we can place ourselves in his care with full confidence. Our trust in him will never be in vain.
Persistent when Criticized. People who set goals and proceed to work on them face criticism. Some people don’t understand the goals. Others are jealous because they do not have such goals and will seek to tear down your goals.
If it is a truthful criticism, learn from it. The people and organizations that fail are the ones that cannot hear truthful complaints. True friends will take the risk of speaking the truth because they care about you. A truthful complaint can provide insight for improvement.
It the criticism is mistaken or mean-spirited, rise above it. There is no victory worth winning that comes from giving back a negative, unfruitful response. If you must respond, just state the facts. Try never to yield to the temptation to respond in a negative manner. Jesus is the perfect example of turning the other cheek and returning good for evil.
When you are criticized, be persistent in keeping your goal before you and continuing to follow it.
Critics win if you quit your positive efforts. You win if you are persistent until your goal is reached. The former USA President, Theodore Roosevelt had a saying about the criticism leaders take for their daring and boldness.
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is not effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually try to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
Today presents the chance to so something significant. Don’t let critics turn you aside from doing your duty and persistently working toward your spiritual goals.
“To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honour and immortality, he (God) will give eternal life” (Romans 2:7). “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9; New Living Translation).