Apr 2, 2016

Extreme Testing Works Endurance, Perseverance , Experience... And Only Then ...True Success

Common Sense Commentary: Human history records no normal or consistent success, survival, arrival or worthy accomplishment apart from planning, hard work, immense effort, determination, struggle and pain. That has always been the price of honest gain since God told Adam, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread ...." Gen.3:9. There is benefit and reward in difficulty and tribulation. "Tribulation worketh hupomone...." which is endurance, continuance, perseverance... and only then, out of that, the "experience" which produces "hope" and all true accomplishment (Rom.5:3-4). Experience speaks louder than assumption, anticipation or self assurance.

The Donner Party was a group of  Eastern Americans who had a dream of selling out and moving west, across the continent of wilderness, rivers, deserts and mountains, through Indian territory, and a thousand other hazards, to California. A wagon train was formed and they left their homes, relatives and friends  and set off with all their worldly goods, essentials, and far too much non-essential stuff, in covered wagons their horses, mules or oxen could barely pull. After months of hard travel, weariness and discouragement, they grew slower and slower. The women and children especially were so tired they lingered longer each morning and tarried long at noon stops. The men also wasted time and wouldn't allow themselves to be pushed along. Autumn and Winter were drawing nigh, but they finally arrived at a point in the western desert where they met a stranger who told them of a short-cut across the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Some of them wanted to stick to the known trail around most of the mountains to the right. But the majority wanted to take this new route over the mountains to "save time". They were worn out as were their animals and wagons, and they had dallied away so much time that agreement was reached to take the short-cut. To their chagrin, when they got up in the Sierra Nevada, there was a horse trail, but no wagon trail there. They had to cut trees and brush to make a way and double team their wagons to ascend mountain passes. They were horrified but it was too late go go back to the old trail. Blizzards caught them far into the tops of the mountains. They were stuck there, with little food, no shelter and no hope of getting through to Sacramento.

During the long months of winter they suffered constant temperatures far below zero, starvation, sickness, many deaths and even cannibalism of the dead. Their experience was one of the most terrifying, desperate, starvation and survival stories in the history of America. Those few who survived were finally rescued in the waning days of winter and carried to Sacramento where they recuperated and lived out their lives.  They were never the same.

One of the survivors was a 16 year old girl who wrote her best friend back in the East, and ended her letter with two hard earned lessons arising from her deadly experience. To the best of my memory, here is what she told her friend... "Two things I learned, Sarah, never dally around but hurry right along, and don't never take no short cuts."

The Donner Party, those who survived, knew a lot more about crossing the continent in a covered wagon ... after the fact than before they started. It's called EXPERIENCE and is gained only by .... the long exposure of ignorant self assurance to the reality that "tribulation works" ... endurance/perseverance. When they departed their homes back east, yes, they planned, prepared and prayed... but they didn't have the experience required to plan, prepare and pray sufficiently. What they gained through the "experience" is better planning, preparing and praying ... as well as greater precaution, absolute punctuality, perseverance and preservation or time, energy and resources. They also learned a lot more about the God of all these attributes and where they come from.

Three Principle Points of critical decision derived from my own experience:

1. The first critical decision toward progress in reaching a worthy goal or destination is not the ease or difficulty or speed at which you travel, but it is always moving in the right direction.

2. The second critical decision in any endeavour is to stay on the track, trail or target and keep moving no matter how slowly the difficulty restricts your advance. There is great distance in a thousand thousand baby steps.

3. The third critical decision in the accomplishment of  your goal, destination or dream is, do not habitually linger and tarry around wasting precious time, and avoid short-cuts, 95 percent of which result in lost time ... or worse. Stay on the trail. Usually the long way around a mountain saves time and trouble.... if the trail is there.  The trail is there for a reason. Many trails evolved over hundreds of years by thousands of experienced walkers. Do not waste your time, energy and resources on short-cuts or non-essentials.

"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." Jeremiah 6:16.

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