Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, May 28

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.
—2 Timothy 3:14

Anyone who has seen even one episode of Looney Tunes’s Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner knows the plot of the entire series: despite repeated failures—most of which involve falls from cliffs—the luckless coyote continues to pursue the roadrunner, who in turn outsmarts him every time. If nothing else, Wile E. Coyote is a persistent creature, certain that his scheming will one day pay off. We humans can be equally hardheaded, continuing behaviors that we know will cause us harm—eating or drinking too much, getting into bad relationships, holding a grudge. This is not the sort of persistence of which the Apostle Paul writes in his letter to Timothy.

The kind of steadfastness to which Paul alludes is the gift of perseverance, a gift built fundamentally on trust. Unlike sheer determination, which can be both a virtue and a curse, the perseverance of which he speaks grows out of a confidence rooted in love. We can persevere only because we know the God in whom we live and move and have our being. We can “continue,” as Paul puts it, only because we know our Source. This is a resoluteness built not on intellectual certainty or even on the conviction we are “right,” but, rather, on a living, changing relationship, one in which we know and trust the Other with our very selves.

O God, help me to persevere not in the confidence in my own abilities, but in the knowledge of your goodness and love.

The Signposts for May are written by Susan Hanson and originally appeared on in September 2004.