Doug Gehman: Before You Quit

Everyday Endurance, Moral Courage and the Quest for Purpose
(Moody Publishers)

Before You Quit: Everyday Endurance, Moral Courage and the Quest for Purpose
(Moody Publishers, 2020)

WHO: Doug Gehman, president/director of Globe International, a missions sending agency based in Pensacola, Florida.

HE SAYS: “Courageous perseverance through difficulty is one of the most powerful forces in the world because, in our obedience, God transforms the world through us now and rewards our faithfulness in eternity.”

THE BIG IDEA: People persevere through difficulties because God gave them a vision for something, and they were willing to work and never quit until the vision God gave them became a reality.

THE PROGRESSION: This book makes the case for perseverance through an introduction, nine chapters and an epilogue. The book first explains the reasons contemporary culture resists difficulty. It identifies three kinds of perseverance—Everyday Endurance, Aspirations for Greatness and Moral Courage—and continues by comparing God’s view of greatness. It then offers specific things we can do to survive and thrive in difficult times. The book concludes with what the Bible says about perseverance’s eternal implications for every Christian and how strong Christian relationships strengthen us in our journey through difficulty.

“By clinging determinately to the big goal, by walking resolutely through the difficulties, we demonstrate to ourselves how much we believe in the vision.”

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A CONVERSATION WITH DOUG GEHMAN

Is perseverance a natural ability or a God-given quality?

There certainly are some people, and some temperaments, that are more naturally suited for patience and the plodding process that defines perseverance. Consider an engineering or mathematical mind that loves to work through complex problems. But anyone, even the most capricious personality, can learn endurance and patience when that person is passionate about a goal. This reality is demonstrated everyday by pop-culture’s obsession with weight loss and fitness training. It is common to every university or graduate student who aspires to earn a degree or climb the corporate ladder. When we are passionate about something, and envision a desired future, we can endure almost anything to make a dream come true.

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Christians have an additional impetus. God imparts to us an amazing passion for His purposes. He reveals His glory to us through the work of Jesus Christ, first as forgiveness and the new birth, and then by a calling and assignment. God’s divine impartation is the most powerful force in the universe! “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!”

What is the role of vision when choosing to quit or endure?

Every vision to accomplish something brings us face-to-face with unexpected delays and setbacks. In those times we must learn priorities. We must learn the difference between the big goal to which we are moving, and the little steps, the methods and means, we use to get there. Changing methods, adjusting means, altering the course to the right or left is necessary and normal. But, abandoning the goal should never be an option. A ship captain hauls in the sails during a storm. He alters his route and schedule for a short time for the sake of safety and survival. He never gives up on the destination.

Too often I have seen people lose sight of the big goal because of what feels like overwhelming difficulties. Instead of making adjustments, they quit the destination. They give up on God. They abandon their family. But in every crisis, God makes a way through. Perseverance is not passive resignation. Patient endurance is also pro-active. We seek God. We look for His way through. We make changes. One of the most powerful ways through is seeking help. From God. From others. From people who have more wisdom or knowledge than me, and who survived similar things. Difficulty is a time to be humble, teachable, and willing to adjust attitudes, mindsets, and behavior. To listen and learn. Even Jesus “learned obedience through the things that he suffered.”

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In truth, our patient endurance builds within us the capacity to handle a new level of success, responsibility, and blessing that God brings to us on the other side.