Jan White

On Feb. 18, the “multi-billion-dollar NASA rover Perseverance landed safely on the Red Planet after a 300-million-mile journey,” National Geographic reported.

The one-ton, nuclear-powered Perseverance, launched on July 30, 2020, traveled 293 million miles in seven months to reach Mars. According to NASA, Perseverance is the size of a car and traveled to the Red Planet at the speed of 12,000 m.p.h.

The rover’s mission is to seek signs of ancient life on the Red Planet. Perseverance reportedly will return to earth within the next decade, bringing back rock samples for scientists to search for clues to as to whether the planet was fit for human habitation

Once Perseverance landed safely, it sent its first photos of the planet’s surface. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s mission control team expressed their excitement. Perseverance will spend at least one Mars year (two Earth years) exploring the landing site region.

The name of the rover was chosen from a nationwide student competition. The winning name, Perseverance, was submitted by a seventh grader from Virginia. It represents making progress despite obstacles. It reflects the perseverance needed to get the mission off the ground and on the way to Mars.

Scottish author Walter Elliot has written, “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (NIV).

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody,” poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow observed. Longfellow’s words remind me of a lesson Jesus taught his disciples. In Luke 18, Jesus tells us about a widow who kept going back and back to the unjust judge and pleading her case until the judge finally gave her the justice she asked for because she did not give up.

Paul is the ultimate example of perseverance in the New Testament. He was imprisoned for his faith repeatedly, flogged, received 39 lashes five times, beaten with rods three times, and shipwrecked three times. In spite of his severe adversity, Paul could still say, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NKJ).

In Romans 5:3-4, we read “…but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Thomas Edison defines perseverance and determination. It is said that Edison failed over 6,000 times before perfecting the first electric light bulb. A young journalist reportedly asked him, “Mr. Edison, why do you keep trying to make light by using electricity when you have failed so many times?” To which Edison replied, “Young man, don’t you realize that I have not failed but have successfully discovered six thousand ways that won’t work!”

Charles Spurgeon put it this way, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.” So keep on keeping on and don’t give up!

Jan White is a wife, mother, and freelance writer who lives in Andalusia. Her email address is jan@janwhitewriter.com.

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