Have you been following the space exploration that NASA and other groups are doing? I like to check in on the Mars mission that began in 2020 with the launch of the rover that the scientists have named Perseverance. Perseverance was launched in July 2020 and landed on the planet Mars on February 18, 2021. That was a long trip, and all would have been wasted if the rover had not landed safely. But it did, on the site of an ancient river delta in a lake that had once filled Jezero Crater. After spending thirty days making sure that all its parts were in working order, the real mission of the rover began. Perseverance has been exploring the region where it landed and will do so for one Mars year, which is two years of Earth time. This particular rover came equipped with an advanced camera system which has allowed it to zoom in for easier soil and rock collecting, and zooming out to map the terrain. It even records the sounds of Mars, which you can hear if you check out this link to the NASA website. https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/ At the end of the mission, NASA is hoping to somehow bring Perseverance back to earth.
The space rover is well named. It is has gone to an unexplored part of Mars with no “on the ground” assistance. From the time it landed until now it has only traveled 10 miles in weather much colder than we have on earth. That doesn’t seem like much when we think nothing of traveling much further in a car. Yet the rover must move that slowly to accomplish its mission: to thoroughly explore this region of Mars detail by detail. With bitter temperatures and rocky terrain, it must move carefully because if it damages itself there is no one there to fix it. It perseveres through difficult circumstances.
William Carey understood about perseverance too. He was the first missionary sent by the English Baptist Mission to Bengal. William faced many challenges. Because the Mission had never sent anyone before, they didn’t know what William would need. They did not give him enough money to care for his family, so he had to find a job. Since he was an illegal immigrant because the East India Company refused to give visas to missionaries, he had to leave Calcutta to find work. Almost from the beginning someone in the family became ill with diseases they didn’t have in England. They had to travel long distances by river because there were few roads in Bengal. They had to learn a new language, sometimes different dialects as they moved into different regions, and get used to new foods. Dolly, William’s wife, became very unhappy and then full of grief and anger when one of their sons died. Those first six years in Bengal were very difficult, yet William was able to start translating parts of the Bible into Bengali. He worked at it a little bit at a time completing the entire New Testament, one line at a time. When God at last led the Carey family to Serampore where William and other missionaries were allowed to live and preach, William thought all would be well. But there were more challenges. His wife became ill in her mind and had to be locked in her room for her and everyone else’s safety. Several years later, after William and other had completed careful translations of the Bible in various languages and dialects, the print shop burned down and all was lost. But William didn’t give up. He and the others got right back to work, writing all the translations again.
Perseverance means working at something no matter how long or how difficult it is to complete. In Galatians 6:9 we are told to “not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.”
Perseverance means working at something no matter how long or how difficult it is to complete. In Galatians 6:9 we are told to “not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.” The space rover will slowly work to complete its mission on Mars because that is way it has been designed. It doesn’t get tired or discouraged, as people do. There were many times when William did get tired and discouraged, but he remembered why he was in Bengal…to serve God preaching the Gospel and making the Bible available in the people’s languages. Each time a challenge occurred God gave William the strength to carry on, even when the progress seemed so very small. God does not promise that we will always see the end of our work. All he wanted from William and from us is the perseverance to be obedient and serve him regardless of the difficulties around us. Since nothing is too hard for God to do (Jeremiah 32:27) we have the best person on our side to help us through.