“Perseverance pays off!”
“O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
……When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortalsthat you care for them?”
I am sure that we have all been in awe at the triumphant landing of the NASA Mars rover which, despite all of the odds, made a flawless landing in a crater that had once been the bed of large lake on the surface of Mars.
The Mars rover is called “Perseverance” and it reflects the years of planning and preparation that went into its launch and successful landing. During the Covid pandemic, a smaller team of scientists was based at NASA headquarters but many other members of the scientific team worked from home despite all the difficulties entailed by working in isolation! A truly remarkable achievement!!
As we continue our journey in Lent, perseverance is very relevant and the writer to the Hebrews reminds us that :
“..since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closelyand let us run with perseverancethe race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1b,2.
One of my favourite characters in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is “Mr. Ready-To-Halt”.
He struggles on his Christian journey and has to cope with his two crutches as he endeavours to keep up with the others. John Bunyan adds a footnote that the crutches are the ‘promises of God’. Mr. Ready-To-Halt perseveres, despite his difficulties, until he reaches the Celestial city.
Sometimes we too struggle with our Christian faith and may be tempted to give up. Hebrews reminds us to look away from ourselves and look at the life, death and resurrection Hebrews reminds us to look away from ourselves to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as a model for our own Christian journey. I am sure that there may have been times when the NASA team were tempted to give up when faced with so many technical difficulties in getting a rover on to Mars. But looking up at the planet Mars in the night sky will have given them the inspiration to persevere with their work. In the same way the old chorus reminds us to:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things (the thing) of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.”