A few testimonies of perseverance

Published 9:30 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2017

By Tonya S. Swindell

Many poets, inventors, athletes and politicians have written about perseverance. They have testified about having hope with conviction that failure isn’t final.

They also encouraged me to take greater risks and accomplish things outside my comfort zone.

Email newsletter signup

In “It Couldn’t Be Done,” Edward Albert Guest wrote, “There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done. There are thousands to prophesy failure. There are thousands to point out to you one by one, the dangers that wait to assail you. But just buckle in with a bit of a grin. Just take off your coat and go to it. Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing that ‘cannot be done’, and you’ll do it.”

American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.”

Madame C.J. Walker, inventor and developer of African-American hair products, reportedly testified: “There is no royal flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I had not found it, for if I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard.”

Inventor, astronomer and mathematician Benjamin Banneker reportedly affirmed: “Presumption should never make us neglect that which appears easy to us, nor despair make us lose courage at the sight of difficulties.”

Mr. Banneker’s reflections were especially significant, because he lived during the 1700s. He predicted a solar eclipse, published six almanacs and was the only African-American on a team that surveyed land to build Washington, D.C.

American gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas presented a positive attitude, saying, “Hard days are the best, because that’s when champions are made.”

Although Michael Jordan won six NBA championships as a Chicago Bull, he confessed, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been entrusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”

In “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story,” newly appointed U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development said: “Successful people don’t have fewer problems. They have determined that nothing will stop them from going forward.”

Former President Barack Obama described “the audacity of hope,” saying, “Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it…”

Romans 5:3 says, “…tribulation brings about perseverance…” And James 1:12 promises, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life.” With effort to achieve in spite of difficulties, we can all have powerful testimonies.

Tonya Swindell writes a blog for www.inspirenewlife.org and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School (KBES.com). She can be reached at 1brightot@gmail.com.