Persistence: Constant dripping of water wears away the stone (水滴石穿 (shui di shi chuan))

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One of my favorite idioms I’ve come to love in my ongoing study of the Chinese language is: 水滴石穿(shui di shi chuan). This can be translated to mean: “Constant dripping of water wears away the stone.” In English, we have a similar aphorism that goes: “Little strokes fell great oaks.”

I have a great friend and mentor, Zhou Wen Zong, who I spent much time with while in Taiwan. He taught me one great and important truth: Everything around us is evidence of God. He taught me this idiom, 水滴石穿, and told me that God uses the miraculous instances in nature to teach His children. Through nature, be it large or small, obscure or obvious, God teaches us how we should act and how He acts.

The Great Teacher has used the water and stone in nature to teach something remarkable. It is truly miraculous to think that tiny droplets of H2O can team up and relentlessly, persistently, determinedly beat dow n on a stone to subsequently wear, carve, and sculpt. I like to think of this as God through nature teaching us how we should approach hindrances and roadblocks in our own life. What do we do when we hit a rock in life? Do we back-off and become discouraged, only to slow the flow of our persistence?

My prayer is that we remain persistent in all of our doings, especially in the service of others. Recently, an acquaintance of mine who works with One Heart Tibet had been frustrated by government restrictions on NGOs entering Tibet. The problem was that they already had an established project and hundreds of individuals in Tibet were waiting on much needed, promised funds. Did her frustration get the best of her? No! Her commitment to keep on beating on the rock before her was inspiring. It took time. It took patience. It took an insane amount of persistence. But she didn’t give up.

Think of the water droplets and their undeterred poise in carrying out the task at hand—wearing away stone. Whatever the stone may be that lies as a nuisance on your path—meet it, wear it down, and break it!

God bless you in your life to be persistent in loving others!

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