Orthodox America

  A Word on Patience and Perseverance

Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:1-2) We are called to go steadfastly along the path which the Lord has indicate to us.  Often we begin well enough, setting forth energetically, and we successfully take several steps.  But this is not enough. In deciding to follow after the Lord, we need to continue our path with the same zeal with which we began.  It is often said that the first step is the most difficult.  And certainly it demands from us great determination, which does not come without effort. But even more difficult perhaps and still more necessary is a persevering endurance that will carry us along the duration of the entire course.

In early spring the trees are covered with buds, these gradually form leaves, then they flower and promise to bring forth fruit.  But not all the buds reach this final stage.  So, too, our good beginnings do not always develop further, we do not always see them through.  We should keep in mind that we are supposed to be moving forward every day, every hour,  prompted by a firm hope in our Divine Guide, from Whom we must never avert our trusting gaze.

Let us continually look upon Him with complete confidence that He will accomplish for us whatever is beyond our strength, as long as we continue our course with patience, neither becoming despondent nor turning aside-regardless of what obstacles we might encounter.

In looking at a ship from afar, we cannot see who is at the helm, but we can tell from its steady course that it is being guided by someone and that that someone has a firm and skilled hand.  Our life presents a similar picture.  If it proceeds with steadiness, in patience and self-denial-all directed at a single, heavenly goal-it will become evident that in us there is acting an invisible power, that the Spirit of God abides in us and is guiding us, step by step, along the entire path that lies before us. Translated from Den' za Dnyem, anon., St. Petersburg 1908.

Patience endurance kills the despair that kills the soul; it teaches the soul to take comfort and not to grow listless in the face of its many battles and afflictions. - St. Peter of Damaskos