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When the World’s All Wrong…Persevere

Photo of Julia MartinJulia Martin | Bio

Julia Martin

Julia Martin is a women’s speaker, writer and recording artist whose passion is to see Christians fully embrace the abundant life offered in Jesus Christ. She serves as Resident Worship Leader at Antioch Christian Church. Her favorite things are long dinners with friends and anything that takes place outside.

It is easy to make a decision, to commit oneself to a course of action. It is much harder to stick to that decision when challenges arise or roadblocks obstruct our path.

I can think of numerous examples of this in my own life. I remember when I was in the third grade, I wanted to be an astronaut. I had grand visions of walking around on Mars! It was going to be great! What I later realized was that becoming an astronaut involved six or more years of study at MIT and a knack for all things mathematical. This discovery promptly changed my life goal.

A little later on, I decided I would learn to play the guitar. I committed myself to the idea. Then I found out you have to practice. Not only do you have to practice, but you have to practice regularly! And it hurts! Has anyone ever told you that? You have to build up callouses on your fingers. They get sore, they get blistered. Guitar is not for the faint of finger! So how are my guitar skills today? Let’s just say that Chris Tomlin won’t be calling me to tour with him anytime soon.

In order to do the right thing, we must not only set our minds, but it is essential that we persevere when we face challenges.

The world was all wrong for the prophet Daniel.

He was far from his homeland, serving the kingdom that had conquered his people. In exile, he was given new literature to imbibe, new customs to adopt, and even a new, Babylonian name to replace his Hebrew name.

When the world was wrong for Daniel, how did he keep doing what was right?

He persevered.

He had made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s food. But that brought pushback from his commander. If the commander wasn’t doing his duties and making sure the youths were staying healthy, the king might decide to be done with the commander (i.e., kill him).

Going to the commander to ask for an exemption in the first place took some guts.

Daniel did not know how he would be received or if this action would bring unpleasant consequences. Daniel’s commitment, however, prompted his perseverance, and he made his request.

Daniel’s heart must have sunk when the commander said, “No, Daniel. You must eat the food we provide for you. I answer to the king. I am afraid of what he might do if I present you looking weak and pale. I can’t feed you only vegetables and then send you in before the king. The punishment would rest squarely on my shoulders. That is a risk I’m not willing to take.”

There are two things to notice about Daniel’s actions here. First, notice what Daniel says about God’s role in all this. It says that God “granted favor and compassion in the sight of the commander” (Daniel 1:9). Daniel was willing to step out in faith, which could have put him in a very dangerous situation if God had not been providing favor. Though the commander may not have granted his request, he was still kind to Daniel and did not offer harsh repercussions.

It could have gone very poorly, but in reality, it was neither Daniel nor the commander that was in control of the situation. It was God.

God was the one protecting Daniel and providing favor. Isn’t this beautiful? As Daniel carried out what he had set his mind to, the Lord assisted him from His throne in the heavenlies. It became then a dance with the Divine, a cooperation with the Lord of the universe. Daniel and God were working in tandem. When we live for His glory, we can experience the same partnership.

The other thing to notice here is that Daniel was persistent. The commander had turned him down. So what did Daniel do? He didn’t sulk. He didn’t get angry. He kept patiently working toward his goal.

He had failed with the commander, but he calmly examined the situation and found another way. He went to the overseer whom the commander had appointed to directly attend to Daniel and his friends. Daniel calmly and politely asked if he would be willing to grant a test in which they would consume only vegetables and water for an allotted amount of time. If the test went well, it would give the commander confidence in letting them continue the special nutritional regimen.

Daniel was willing to keep trying when he did not at first succeed. He did not let the commander’s reluctance stop him. He had committed himself to this plan for God’s glory, and he was not going to let challenges get in the way.

Daniel’s incredible example leaves us asking the question, “Do our lives reflect this same kind of perseverance?”

I sometimes struggle to stay with something when it gets hard. It’s easy to forgive someone until they create a fresh wound by hurting us again. It’s easy to commit to more family time until the possibility for a promotion necessitates staying late at work. It’s easy to say we won’t gossip until we are trying to impress a group of friends who are airing someone else’s dirty laundry.

When we persevere, we bring recognition to Jesus and that makes every mountain we face worthwhile.

Yes, it is easy to make a commitment, but when challenges arise it is not so easy to follow through. Perseverance is the act of committing ourselves and then recommitting again and again and again.

With each new situation, we are to intentionally choose again to stand on what we believe. We must confidently move forward not for our glory but for the glory of the One who has freely given us all things. It is so worth it!

Friends, I implore you to persevere in those things you have committed to before the Lord. You will not regret it. Your integrity is worth it. Your marriage is worth it. Your children are worth it. Most importantly, Jesus is worth it.

When we persevere, we bring recognition to Jesus and that makes every mountain we face worthwhile.