Perseverance is like endurance, but more. It is facing challenges and hardships that are long and drawn out, enduring over a long period of time. Perseverance is spoken of often in the bible because God’s time is different than ours. 40 years is a blink of an eye, but 7 days might be millions of years. Another way to look at it is that sacred time is different from mundane or secular time. Perseverance is all about time, and waiting, and patience, and being steadfast.

There have been generations of people working to undo the horrors of slavery, from abolitionists to freedom riders to Black Lives Matter activists. Anti-racism and full equality has not ever been the norm for the US, so working toward it means creating new systems over and over as the old systems get dismantled. That is perseverance, knowing that success might not happen in your lifetime but doing the work anyway.

February is black history month and perseverance is exactly the word that comes to mind. When black people and allies sing “We Shall Overcome,” we may be thinking of the generations who have already given their lives to the work and wonder, how many more generations will spend their life’s work for the goal of equality?

God’s time is different than ours but it seems that even God would be tired of inequality by now. Any stride toward social justice and equality for all is definitely positive, but so often takes much, much longer than we expect or hope. God’s time is different than ours, but ultimately, it’s up to us to help move the needle to a more just and sustainable world. If God gave us the brains to get into the troubles we find ourselves, that it’s up to us to get out of them.