One of the things that makes Chinese water torture so torturous (allegedly) is the fact that the continual dripping of drops on the forehead isn’t given a duration. If you were told that you would have to endure 37 drops, or even 370 for that matter, I would think your propensity to crack could be held at bay. If you decide to test this hypothesis, let me know how it goes.
Perspective is a key to perseverance. Everything changes when you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I think this reality is why the Biblical writers who were specifically addressing historical churches under heavy persecution tend to refer most frequently to the return of Christ. Peter does this from the outset in 1 Peter (“in view of his appearing and his kingdom”), and Paul does this frequently in his first 2 letters–1 and 2 Thessalonians. Per capita, the Thessalonian corpus holds more references to the return of Christ and the day of the Lord than anything else Paul wrote. The Greek word parousia (“coming”) appears almost exclusively from Paul’s pen in the Thessalonian letters.
What is it about the return of Jesus that is so important for churches who are enduring persecution? It’s perspective. Perspective gives birth to perseverance. A glimpse of the finish line changes everything.
If this is true, then it follows that a lack of perspective can adversely affect our ability to persevere. Maybe this is one of the reasons why reading the Bible is so important for the Christian life. Maybe this is also why the writer of Hebrews admonishes Christians to “not forsake the assembling of yourselves together.” Could we say that the emphasis on a commitment to living out one’s faith in the context of local Christian community (which is all over the New Testament) is likely linked to the influence of perspective on perseverance?
The dynamic of our endurance changes significantly when we are in clear view of the finish line. I’m looking forward to developing these thoughts more for this Sunday at LifePoint as The Hope and the Burden continues with 1 Thessalonians 2:13-20.
 1 Corinthians 15 is Paul’s only other use of this term.