Persevere with God

By Ron Douglas, 9th grade

Challenges occur in everyone's lives. Facing challenges, especially when the odds are against you, can be difficult. However, I have found that with God's help, any challenge can be overcome.

The most challenging experience I have faced was this past football season. I had never played football before, and it was much more challenging than I had expected. I found myself at a low point during our second game of the season. (I had hardly played at all during the first game.) We were facing a team that was much bigger, faster, and more able than we were. I was on the offensive line, and the guy I was supposed to be blocking was fast and intimidating. At the end of the first half, we were down by 36 points. I ended up playing for most of the game, though I was moved to a different position.

I relied on God to help me persevere through this game and through the rest of the season's grueling practices. Though I didn't play much the rest of the season, and though our team won only one game, I had a lot of fun working hard and getting better. By the time our last game ended in October, I had improved immensely from my first practice in August.

A Bible story that is a good example of overcoming obstacles is the story of Gideon in the book of Judges. Gideon is a young man from the tribe of Manasseh in Israel. During his time, the Midianites were overrunning Israel. One day, God comes to Gideon, telling him to free Israel from the Midianites. Gideon doesn't think that he can do it. He doesn't feel capable at all. So, he asks God for a sign. Gideon prepares an offering, which God lights on fire. From this, he is convinced that God has spoken.

God tells him to tear down the altar of Baal that is near his father's house and build an altar to God, which he does. When the people of his town find out, they want to kill him. However, Gideon's father tells the people to "let him [Baal] fight his own battles and defend his own altar" (The Message, Judges 6:31). The people then decide to spare Gideon. He then begins mustering an army.

But Gideon still isn't sure about everything. Again, he asks God for a sign that God really wants him to be the one to save his people. So God gives Gideon more proof of His power, answering Gideon's request, drenching a fleece Gideon leaves on the ground while leaving the ground dry. Gideon is still slightly doubtful, so he leaves the fleece out again, asking God to soak the ground but leave the fleece completely dry. In the morning, Gideon sees that this has happened.

So Gideon assembles an army of several thousand men (thirty-two companies). But God tells him that he has too many soldiers. God knows that if this army defeats the Midianites, they will believe that they have won because of their own skill. So Gideon makes an announcement that anyone who is feeling fearful could go home. Twenty-two of the companies leave. God decides that the ten companies are still too many. Gideon then takes the men down to a river. There, Gideon separates them by the way they drink and is left with three hundred men. He and his men set up camp near the Midianite camp. Gideon and one of his men go down to the camp and overhear one of the soldiers telling one of his comrades a dream. The friend interprets it to mean that Israel would defeat them.

Gideon divides his men into three groups, one on each side of the enemy camp. Each man carries a jar, a lamp, and a trumpet. At Gideon's signal, each of the men would break the jars covering their lamps, blow the trumpets, and yell, "A sword for GOD and for Gideon!" (The Message, Judges 7:20). When they do this, the army of Midian retreats in panic. The Israelites are free.

Through trust in God, a person can persevere through any difficult circumstance. Gideon trusted in God and saved his country from further invasion despite the fact that he didn't feel capable. I was able to keep going despite the difficulty I faced in football. It is my opinion, if there is any task that is for the right cause, God can help someone achieve it.