PERSEVERANCE AND OUR FUTURE!
Our nation has witnessed the realization of a myriad of visions that became reality: the transcontinental railroad, the Panama Canal, the interstate highway system, landing astronauts on the moon, and the Manhattan Project. Looking from the present to the future, each project seemed an impossibility, but each vision became a reality, in spite of severe and persistent setbacks. The fact that things didn’t always go according to the plan was a part of the plan. One common denominator in each massive project was perseverance.
Here is a good example. The French government first attempted to construct the Panama Canal in 1880. But the task was much more difficult than anticipated. Malaria, yellow fever, and other tropical diseases caused the death of 20,000 workers. In 1889, the French attempt went bankrupt.
In 1903, the United States purchased the Panama Canal Zone, and began preparations for the construction of the 50-mile canal. The project began on May 4, 1904 and encountered ongoing obstacles and crises. The project “went through” several Chief Engineers, carried out massive fumigations to kill millions of mosquitoes, which carried malaria and yellow fever. The project included the clearing of the 9-mile stretch of mountain range between Gamboa and Pedro Miguel (The Culebra Cut). This excavation was accomplished by 6,000 men who worked around the clock. Of course, living quarters had to be constructed for all the workers and their families. From 1904 through 1913, 56,000 workers were employed, and approximately 5,600 were killed by disease, landslides, or other work-related accidents. The project was completed August 15, 1914, over 10 years after work had begun. The Panama Canal went from vision to reality because of perseverance.
We find this same reality in GOD’s Word.
· It took Noah 120 years to build the ark. In the meantime, he preached all of those years and no one responded;
· It took 100 years before Abraham could have a son;
· It took 12 years for Joseph to endure unjust suffering, culminating in his selection as the prime minister of Egypt;
· It took 40 years for the people of GOD to make it from Egypt to the Promised Land (only those 20 years and under made it, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb);
· It took an untold number of years before David became King of Israel.
In each of these Biblical accounts, the word which connects them all is “perseverance.” In spite of the hardships, difficulties, and changing realities, each person remained faithful to the vision GOD gave, and each experienced the realization of that vision.
I write these words because we are in the “same boat.” Our church family embraced the vision GOD gave for a total campus relocation in 2010 when the church family voted by a 92% majority to re-locate our church campus to the corner of Marksheffel and Bradley Roads. This journey has NOT been easy. But, we do draw encouragement by the perseverance of Biblical characters. GOD fulfilled His promise to all because He was (and will always be) a gracious GOD, and He also responded to people who demonstrated obedience and faith throughout the process – perseverance.
Someday the vision GOD gave us will become a reality. In the meantime, as we encounter obstacles and “unplanned interruptions” along the way, we will continue to demonstrate obedience and faith. By the power of the SPIRIT of GOD, we will preserve. In GOD’s timing, the day will come when the vision WILL become a reality, and we will enjoy our new church building and the incredible ministry GOD has in store for us.
I love these verses:
Isaiah 40:31: “But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Psalm 27:13-14: “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”
Lamentations 3:25: “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.”
GOD is working: in our lives, in our church family, and in our future! He works in our lives as we wait patiently. He deepens our faith and continues to prepare us for all He has in store for us.