Lessons in the Desert – Perseverance
This week’s desert image shows us the value of perseverance and commitment.
We’re almost coming up to the halfway point in Lent and we may be feeling weary depending on how focused we have been in practicing self-denial, prayer and almsgiving. The growing pains from these disciplines are good because they prepare us for dealing with life’s real challenges.
Sometimes our challenges or crosses in life can feel like we are stuck on a never ending, steep rock face with no way to get off, nothing to grab hold of, and yet we are still called to persevere in our ascent.
I was amazed when I came across this fellow, looking like a tiny dot scaling a huge rock formation. I couldn’t believe he was climbing with no ropes and that he was doing it for fun. It was a sport to him. He was committed to getting to the top and it was clear he was doing well so far, since he’s probably practiced many times before.
It would be good to adopt this climber’s attitude for Lent and in life. When we find ourselves faced with a steep climb ahead of us, it’s important to cultivate a positive, open hearted attitude for what are we going to learn, how our weaknesses are going to be challenged, and what new wisdom, strengths, and self knowledge we are to gain.
If we persevere with God’s grace, like the climber, we’ll also experience the thrill of conquering our obstacles, and feel that much more ready to tackle even greater obstacles or suffering that God may allow to come our way.
But that victory only comes if we are committed in our perseverance with the help of Grace.
For an exercise, the next time we take a long flight of stairs instead of an elevator, or jog up a hill instead of walking, we could make an interior visualization of striving upward (like the climber in the photo) through the pain of our Lenten disciplines, or life’s burdens, and reach up for God’s abundant Grace that He gives freely if only we ask for it.
“Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved
he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him.”