Adrianne Haslet-Davis was one of the spectators at the 2013 Boston Marathon when she experienced the explosions ripping through the crowd. She lost the lower part of her left leg. While recovering, she set a goal to run the Boston Marathon someday.
This year, 2016, she did just that. She is 35 years old and had to stop at the seventh mile for an hour because her stump began to swell up, causing problems for her prosthetic running leg. She kept thinking, “I can’t pull out.” She knew she had to finish. She gave a lot of credit to her “pit crew” on whom she leaned in order to experience the emotional finish. She said, “If you put your mind to something, you can get there.” That’s perseverance! No quit in Adrianne!
Ingeborg Sylim-Rapoport was a student in Nazi Germany. She was not allowed to complete her doctorate because her mother was Jewish. Getting that PhD was a dream she had.
She was 102 years old last year when she got a second chance of finishing her education at the University of Hamburg. The university officials heard about her case on her 100th birthday. This is 80 years after she had written her thesis on Diphtheria. She successfully took her final oral exam and graduated magna cum laude! At 102 years old – she never quit. She accomplished her goal, and she did it in fine order! That’s perseverance!
Micah McDade was born with cerebral palsy and has been confined to wheelchairs his entire life. His goal was to receive his diploma standing on his feet. He went through two grueling years of physical therapy, conducted largely in secret. Micah’s big day came when he made his way across the stage at his graduation from Okmulgee High School in Oklahoma in June 2016. He shocked his fellow students and parents by slowly rising from his wheelchair and taking his first steps. Everyone at the graduation ceremony erupted with applause. The announcer said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have been doing this a long time, but this is the best ever!”
Michael Valudreuil had a plastering business that went out of business eight years ago. He got a job as a college custodian cleaning classrooms at Massachusetts Worcester Polytechnic Institute. WPI employees could take classes free. He started studying engineering. He worked his classes and his studying around his custodial job. In June 2016 he graduated with a mechanical engineering degree.
His accomplishment made national news, and job offers started pouring in. He has accepted an engineering position at a Connecticut aerospace firm. Michael didn’t quit, and his degree and his job are value rewards for his perseverance.
How many times do you think Adrianne, Ingeborg, Micah and Michael thought about quitting? They went through a lot of tough times, but quitting did not seem to be an option for any of them. They endured and persevered and continued until they finished!
Winston Churchill, speaking at Harrow School, his alma mater, said, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing great or small, large or petty – never give in!” Thomas Edison said, “Our greatest weakness lies in quitting; the most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time.” I remember my Dad saying, “It’s always better to have one simple goal and complete it than to have a big goal and never get around to finishing it.”
We are reminded in Hebrews 12:1 to run our race with perseverance and never give up. Paul said that good works always produce a harvest if we do not give up (Gal. 6:9).
Perseverance pays off!