The Crown of Perseverance
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)
Susanna Wesley is at the top of my list of nominees for the “Mother-Wife-Saint” award. The wife of a preacher in England at the turn of the 18th century, Susanna bore 19 children, nine of whom died. Two of these children, John and Charles, became the early leaders of the Methodist movement, and were mightily used by God.
Throughout her life, Susanna endured every trial a woman could imagine: financial ruin, a husband who left her, and many children who died. Yet trials seemed to cause her spiritual roots to grow ever deeper in Christ. She trained all her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Tradition has it that, to maintain her own daily “quiet time” in a small house filled with children, she would sit in a chair and cover her head with her voluminous skirt to block out distractions, warning her children not to disturb her. When she died, her husband wrote a letter to their children saying they owed all that they were to their mother.
Perhaps a loved one has abandoned you. Perhaps you are a widow carrying the load of childrearing by yourself. Perhaps you are poor by this world’s standards. Perhaps you have no time or place to call your own. If so, you are not alone. You are like every believer who is called to persevere . . . and for whom a crown is reserved if you will but remain faithful. On the days that you wonder how you will make it, remember that God is with you, asking for your trust.
Perseverance is a daily commitment, a daily relinquishing of the world’s idea that life is supposed to go our way. It is a daily confession that we are willing for life to go God’s way instead of ours. It is a daily agreement that God is with us in heartbreak, poverty, or aloneness. It is a daily affirmation that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). If you make that commitment . . . confession . . . agreement . . . affirmation, you will persevere no matter what….and one day receive your own “crown of life”.
Heavenly Father, Grant me the perseverance of a Susanna Wesley. Let me learn to trust You in difficult times and have the discipline to seek you daily. May my children see you as their refuge as well. Amen.