And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations; knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint . . . Romans 5:3-5 NASB
Perseverance – Is perseverance simply gritting your teeth and enduring the pain? Does God expect you to white-knuckle your way through the trials of life? Are you supposed to hold your breath until it’s over? We might be inclined to answer “Yes” to these questions if we think of the English sense of perseverance. But perhaps we need to look a little deeper.
The Greek word hypomonen comes from the root mone and the prefix hypo. The literal combination is “to remain under,” that is, “to stay in place.” We should think of this in military terms. God puts you in position. You might not have asked to be placed where He puts you (Adam didn’t ask to be put into the Garden), but it is His choice, not yours. Wherever He puts you, you are simply asked to stand. The Hebrew parallel to this Greek word is ‘amar (to stand, to remain, to endure) or kum (to stand up, to make a place). The King sets His troops where they best serve His purposes. Once you are put in place, you are instructed not to surrender the ground to the enemy. That’s all. You don’t have to advance the battlefront. You don’t have to attack the next hill. All you have to do is hold the ground God has given you. To persevere is not to surrender an inch of territory to any kind of attack. Perhaps Paul chose this word because he was aware that the Hebrew idea of salvation is equivalent to supplying reinforcements in the middle of a battle. Salvation is not about escape. So perseverance is not about hiding from trouble. When the enemy brings the battle, we stand until God provides reinforcements.
Oh, and by the way, He promises that He will bring reinforcements. That is part of the hope of His glory. All the plans of the enemy are bound to fail (Psalm 32:11). They will be broken by God Himself (Proverbs 19:21, Isaiah 7:7). His word abides no matter what (Isaiah 40:8). His Kingdom will endure (Daniel 4:26). His plans cannot be overturned (Romans 9:11).
This is the same root word that Yeshua uses in the passages about abiding in the vine (John 15). When we are asked to stand, we are not left alone. He abides with us. He shares the struggle and the fight. He does not abandon His post alongside us. Neither must we.
Without afflictions there is no opportunity to stand. Without tests there is no chance to succeed. Without trial there is no victory. The pathway that flees problems leads to Pablum.
Topical Index: hypomeno, stand, endure, ‘amar, kum, Romans 5:3