As the Kansas winter blustered through my yard, I noticed a unique snapshot of the season.
Although all the other leaves had already let loose and dropped to the ground, one leaf still hung on.
In spite of the wind, the calendar day and its length of life – a lone leaf clung tightly to the branch that had given it life.
It didn’t take long to wrap my heart around the analogy and honor thousands of saints who continue to cling tightly to their true source of life.
They persevere in spite of the calendar days that scream, “You should have given up already.”
They hang on in spite of the circumstances of life or the opinions of others or even of well-meaning friends who speak cruelty.
These are people who inspire me to persevere as well:
The single mom who drives her children to church even though she has been shunned because she’s divorced
The writer who revises the same manuscript seven times until every word is as good as it can possibly be – then ignores another rejection to revise it again
The cancer patient who refuses to be a victim but spends her time during brutal radiation treatments, praying through her list of friends and family
The nonprofit organizations who operate on a financial shoestring and trust God to provide resources each and every day
The missionaries who continue to serve even when their prayers don’t merge with the answers they long to see
Persevering folks who keep hanging on to hope even when everything in life attacks them.
Brave and vulnerable caregivers who keep serving even when the days are 36 hours long.
Mothers who keep praying for their prodigals. Fathers who work jobs they hate so their children won’t go hungry. Christians who refuse to deny Christ even though faced with the wrath of a radical Muslim sect.
The power of those who persevere is modeled at the end of Hebrews 11 – saints who refused to be released from torturous prisons, faced rejection and persecution, were destitute and mistreated. They did not receive what they were promised but they hung on anyway. They persevered and “the world was not worthy of them.”
What is required to continue in hope when everyone else has let loose and fallen around us?
Courage and the grace to keep hanging on to the One who empowers us with resurrection life.