By Joe Smith

    In hockey the word perseverance has a powerful meaning. The playoff grind and even a lengthy regular season certainly both call for perseverance. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines perseverance as: Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failures, or opposition. Tell me that’s not hockey! There is a reason we find this word in the Bible so often. It’s because this word is essential in our daily spiritual walk.

    You may remember a guy in the Bible who was asked to build a giant ship. His name was Noah. I can guarantee that Noah dealt with some difficulties, failures, and opposition. He lived in a world where “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5b). Noah’s family was different because they were the only family who followed God. So, God spoke to Noah and told him to build a giant ark because the world was going to be wiped out by a global flood (6:13-14). Word would have spread quickly about this divine project. Noah wasn’t asked to hollow out a canoe. He was instructed to build an ark that was longer than a football field! This wasn’t a weekend of bonding with the kids. This was a long term mission. I can only imagine the verbal harassment that he received on a daily basis. Everyone must have thought he was crazy or at the very least a strange guy. So, God told you to build an ark, put animals into it, and prepare for a flood that will wipe out every living thing? People probably would have found it amusing at first, but eventually they would have been annoyed and frustrated with Noah for sticking to this strange and ridiculous plan.

    Like any building project there had to have been some major failures and setbacks in the process. How uninspiring the story would have been if it read: “God commanded Noah to build an ark. Noah built half and declared; ‘Good enough. Let’s board this thing. I did a pretty good job and my neighbours are really getting on my nerves.’” Thankfully, Noah did everything the Lord commanded. He pushed through difficulties, failures, and opposition. That is literally the definition of perseverance! I am sure there were days when the animals hated Noah, days when his neighbours hated him, and maybe even a day or two where his own family was reaching the end of their rope. Nevertheless, Noah persevered.

    Noah’s spiritual life was lived out through his dedication to God’s command. As a hockey player you can live out your dedication to God through your sport. Let every accomplishment in the game be a big thank you to the one who gave you the skills to play. There are obstacles in our path both in hockey and in our faith walk. People will tell you you’re wasting your time or going down a dead end street. Show some ‘Noah attitude’ by trusting in the Lord and digging deep!  

    “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

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