I heard a teaching this morning about how integral perseverance is in our every-day lives. The speaker talked about the classic marathon runner analogy and how important it is to “keep running.” Though I agree that perseverance is required to accomplish most of the worth-while things in life, I found out it cannot be used by itself.
I got my car stuck in the driveway this afternoon. My driveway hasn’t been shoveled diligently enough and has gotten narrower throughout the winter. It got so narrow that when I was pulling in, the front passenger-side tire slipped off the edge of the driveway (I’m on a corner lot and the driveway is raised above street level).
I walked around the car once, assessed that the passenger-side tire wasn’t getting traction so I focused my efforts on getting it back on the hard-packed driveway. No matter what how I drove, no matter how many car mats and how much cat litter I put under that tire, I could not get the wheel to cooperate. The tires just spun (my car is front-wheel-drive if you hadn’t guessed).
I asked my wife to drive (despite her not having a license) while I tried pushing. I pushed the front right corner until I was completely exhausted and lying on the hood, gasping for air. I didn’t get it. I knew what had to be done and yet I could not accomplish this simple task.
Finally, I simply prayed “Lord, please be my strength and get the car out.” As I prayed, I staggered around to the driver-side of the car. To my amazement, that front tire had spun away the loose snow beneath it to reveal my gravel driveway – it was barely touching the ground and was not getting any traction.
I gathered what strength I could, placed the mats and cat litter under this tire, and pushed on the driver-side corner. The car immediately sprung out of the hole it had dug, and backed out of the driveway.
After parking on the street I assessed my driveway. It turned out the passenger-side tire I thought was off the driveway was actually on solid snow, and the tire I assumed was on the hard-packed snow was the one without traction.
Despite the fact I persevered to the point of exhaustion, I had the wrong perspective so I was ultimately fruitless. It was only after I called upon the Lord for strength, changed my perspective, and then persevered, that I was successful.
My challenge to us (myself included) is to pursue God’s perspective and leading in our lives because pursuing the wrong thing will ultimately turn into failure, no matter how much we persevere.