When many of us think of perseverance, we think of things like saying "Praise the Lord anyway!" when we are having a bad day. Some of us might think about the need to persevere when people make fun of us for being a Christian. Recently, however, I read an email about "real perseverance." This email was from Voice of the Martyrs (www.persecution.com). This is what it said.

Talk about perseverance!

A Sudanese Christian boy has his knees and feet nailed to a board and he is left to die. When rescued he says he forgives the man who did this because Jesus was also nailed and forgave him. A Vietnamese pastor is sentenced to two years in prison. When he is offered an early release, he declines stating that he has a group of new Believers in the prison he has to disciple. A Colombian missionary is kidnapped and told she only has two hours to live. She tells her captors that if she only has two hours to live, she wants to spend it telling them about Jesus.

When I compare myself to these people, I don’t really know much about perseverance.

In my quiet time recently, I came across a challenging verse:

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God (2 Timothy 1:8 NKJV).

To many of us that sounds almost contradictory. If we are suffering, we might think that God is not paying attention in our time of need. This verse, however, describes suffering "according to the power of God."

In a Bible study we are doing at our church, we focused recently upon a verse Paul sent to the believers in Colossae:

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church (Colossians 1:24).

Talk about perseverance! Paul was able to rejoice in sufferings.

Some of us are already persevering through sufferings. Others of us need to ask the Lord to help us develop this for the tough times that may be ahead. All of us should pray for our brothers and sisters who are persevering through severe trials and persecutions for the Lord.