I WOKE to a loud pounding noise in the backyard. Looking out the kitchen window, I saw two young boys busily building a treehouse just beyond the back fence. They worked tirelessly the entire spring vacation, designing and building their dream house. I marveled at their dedication and perseverance. I had always thought of perseverance as being something laborious or heavy, but these boys persevered with light hearts and joyful steadfastness.
We often admire those individuals who see a difficult problem through to its conclusion. Bible stories offer inspiring instances of perseverance based on dedication and commitment to God. For example, Nehemiah persevered in his efforts to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem; nothing could entice him away from his God-appointed task. At one point Nehemiah replied to messages sent to him: ''I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down'' (6:3). And, of course, Jesus provided the ultimate example of Christly commitment and obedience to God, which resulted in his triumph over death.
After being healed while reading a Bible account of a healing, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, diligently studied the Scriptures for three years until she understood the Science behind the Principle of healing that Christ Jesus demonstrated. She then persevered, writing Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which enabled others to make use of the Bible's healing message in their lives. Still she did not stop her labors, but founded a Church and continues today through her writings to lead it as it brings healing to the world.
These examples point to the fact that perseverance based on an understanding of God results in victory-victory over ignorance, bondage, disease, sin, and death. Trust in God as wholly good, as all-powerful, as ever present, as the one Mind, is an essential ingredient in an individual's persistence.
Later that summer I had an opportunity to put into action what I was learning about perseverance. Some relatives purchased a new boat, a cruiser, and were bringing it to our town by water. En route the boat began to leak. I met the crew at the marina. Even with the pump operating, it looked as if the boat would sink by morning if no further action was taken. It was a Sunday evening, and our hopes of finding help seemed dim. We lived nearby, so we decided to go home, eat something, and read the boat's manual to see if we could figure out what needed fixing. But we really couldn't decipher much of anything. It was about midnight by this time.
All at once I remembered the need for perseverance. The only thing I could think of was to return to the boat. When we reached it, I went down into the cabin to be alone and pray. The others remained on deck. As I sat on the bunk, listening to the pump, I realized that persevering did not mean continuing to focus on the problem hour after hour. It meant instead turning away completely from the material picture of a sinking boat and holding steadfastly to what I knew of spiritual reality. I knew that God is good and everything He makes is good, so there can be no discord. I saw that harmony was truly at that moment the only reality. Science and Health states, ''The realization that all inharmony is unreal brings objects and thoughts into human view in their true light, and presents them as beautiful and immortal'' (p. 276). This statement promised that whatever I needed to know would be brought ''into human view.''
Just then I heard footsteps on the planking near the boat. A man carrying a bag appeared out of the darkness. He was a boatbuilder and mechanic! He quickly stopped the leak. We all rejoiced and thanked God for this wonderful answer to our prayers.
When we have problems, we don't have to accept them at face value. As I learned that summer, we can turn at once to God and persevere in holding to the spiritual view of being. If a problem seems to hang on, we're still looking at a leaking boat to some extent-and we can persist in our efforts to see harmony. Such perseverance is natural to God's child. As we refuse to be dismayed by unreal pictures of life, we will witness harmony right where discord seemed so real.