(see also PERSISTENCE)
Ten years ago for every wife who left her family, 600 husbands did. Today for each man
who leaves, two women do.
Charles Swindoll, Starting Over, 1977, p. 20.
"I often wish that I could lie down and sleep without waking. But I will fight it
out if I can." So wrote one of the bravest, most inspiring men who ever lived, Sir
Walter Scott. In his 56th year, failing in health, his wife dying of an incurable disease,
Scott was in debt a half million dollars. A publishing firm he had invested in had
collapsed. He might have taken bankruptcy, but shrank from the stain. From his creditors
he asked only time. Thus began his race with death, a valiant effort to pay off the debt
before he died.
In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe Pioneer 10. According
to Leon Jaroff in Time, the satellite's primary mission was to reach Jupiter,
photograph the planet and its moons, and beam data to earth about Jupiter's magnetic
field, radiation belts, and atmosphere. Scientists regarded this as a bold plan, for at
that time no earth satellite had ever gone beyond Mars, and they feared the asteroid belt
would destroy the satellite before it could reach its target.
But Pioneer 10 accomplished its mission and much, much more. Swinging past the giant
planet in November 1973, Jupiter's immense gravity hurled Pioneer 10 at a higher rate of
speed toward the edge of the solar system. At one billion miles from the sun, Pioneer 10
passed Saturn. At some two billion miles, it hurtled past Uranus; Neptune at nearly three
billion miles; Pluto at almost four billion miles. By 1997, twenty-five years after its
launch, Pioneer 10 was more than six billion miles from the sun.
And despite that immense distance, Pioneer 10 continued to beam back radio signals to
scientists on Earth. "Perhaps most remarkable," writes Jaroff, "those
signals emanate from an 8-watt transmitter, which radiates about as much power as a
bedroom night light, and takes more than nine hours to reach Earth."
The Little Satellite That Could was not qualified to do what it did. Engineers designed
Pioneer 10 with a useful life of just three years. But it kept going and going. By simple
longevity, its tiny 8-watt transmitter radio accomplished more than anyone thought
So it is when we offer ourselves to serve the Lord. God can work even through someone
with 8-watt abilities. God cannot work, however, through someone who quits.
Craig Brian Larson, Pastoral Grit: the Strength to Stand and
to Stay, Bethany.