Luke 18:27 (NIV)
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
How easy it is to get discouraged! And once we find ourselves ensnared in these ugly tentacles, all of our hope evaporates into thin air.
But to those who persevere, the impossible becomes a foreign word.
In the 1850s, Sylvester Marsh and a friend climbed the temperamental Mount Washington. The weather patterns at the peak of this particular mountain are dangerously erratic, with winds beyond hurricane force occurring an average of 110 days per year. Mount Washington even holds the record for the fiercest winds on earth: 231 mph! Snowstorms are the norm, even during the summer months, with a yearly average of 311 inches of snow. But what makes this mountain perhaps the most dangerous is that the weather patterns can change very rapidly.
Is it any wonder Mr. Marsh and his friend lost their way during a quickly-rising storm? They did eventually make it to the top of the volatile mountain, and were able to seek shelter at the Tip Top House, a hotel built on the summit of Mount Washington.
That night Mr. Marsh decided to build a railroad up the mountain. 8 years later he brought a model of his dream to the New Hamshire Legislature. His idea was not well received, however. In fact, there wasn't a single one of the legislators who didn't laugh at such a preposterous notion.
Mr. Marsh didn't let their laughter discourage him, however, and he persisted in explaining his project. Though in the end, he still hadn't won them over 100%, their interest was pricked when he stated he was willing to finance the project himself. The bill was passed on June 25, 1958.
By 1865 the first locomotive was built and brought to the base of Mount Washington by an ox team. The following year construction began on the world's first climbing cog railway, and a platform that would hold 40 people was constructed.
On July 3, 1869, the first passenger train reached the summit of Mount Washington. President Ulysses S. Grant took his family for the ride that same year, and the rest is history. This cog railway is still operating, and it still attracts myriads of tourists on any given day.
What surprised me the most is that the locomotives have to climb an average grade of 25 percent, and in some places, the grade is as steep as 37.41 percent! Despite the steepness, the cog railway couldn't be safer, thanks to its toothed wheel and ratchet.
Persistence does pay off, and even more so when we depend on the One whose specialty is in the impossible.
However any worthwhile endeavor comes with a cost.
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other… but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matt 24:9-10, 13 NIV)
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NIV)
"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." (Heb 10:36 NIV)
God did not promise us a rose garden, but He promised that those who persevere will get what He has promised. Let us remember that no matter what our circumstances, Jesus has "overcome the world."
Dear Lord, we thank You for making the impossible possible. Help us rely on You for everything and not get discouraged. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.