This week I have been sharing with you some memories of my time in OH while being mentored by Pastor Ronald Cannon. I learned so much from him during those eleven years in Lima. Of the many lessons he taught me, perhaps the one that stands out in my mind the most is the power of perseverance. As I have already shared with you, Pastor and Mrs. Cannon experienced much pain and sorrow in their lives; yet in spite of it all, they persevered. What was their secret?
Obviously it began with their personal relationship with the Lord. Pastor Cannon loved Jesus Christ and he was committed to serving Him. Secondly, he believed with all his heart that he was doing God’s will. His ministry was developed around his deep personal convictions. But there was also a third reason why I believe that he was able to persevere.
Nehemiah 8:10 “…for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
More than once I saw Pastor Cannon walk away from a difficult situation – whistling and singing. If you knew him very well, you knew that he loved music. Yet in addition to worshiping God, Pastor Cannon used music as a means of regaining his focus and finding strength in his relationship with the Lord. I believe that he literally praised his way through difficulty.
Consider that in light of Hebrews 12
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus endured His suffering by looking beyond the cross and focusing upon the crown. He would not allow His emotions to be controlled by the moment. Instead He set His focus upon the joy of what could be accomplished if He would faithfully do His Father’s will.
The same holds true for us. To faithfully and consistently serve God, we must be able to handle the pressure of stress and opposition. Perhaps the greatest secret to being able to persevere is being able to praise!
In closing I would like to say that my family and I will forever be indebted to Pastor and Mrs. Cannon. I’m sure that at times, he was very frustrated with me. Believe it or not, but he and I did not always see eye to eye. And maybe that was good for both of us. The Bible says – “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Pr 27:17)
“Well done thou good and faithful servant. You have fought a good fight, you have finished your course, you have kept the faith. I pray that my life and ministry will have just a portion of the impact upon others that yours had upon me.”