When a storm hits the planet Mars the group of astronauts exploring the place are forced to head back for their ship so they can escape. However, in the ensuing chaos one man gets injured and left behind. Thinking he is dead the rest of the team head off on their epic journey back to earth. When Mark Watney wakes up he has to think fast and science his way out of a dark problem. He is a long way from home with limited resources on a hostile planet. Somehow he must find a way to survive.
Against the odds Mark starts to grow potatoes on Mars. Using his own… ahem… poo as fertiliser. He is a survivor and a resourceful fighter, so he finds ways to make it through. But for a while no one has any idea that he exists anymore. At one point Mark comments, ‘I’m the first person to be alone on their own planet.’
At one point on earth Mark tells a group of budding astronauts that they will most certainly face problems. It will happen. They will feel like giving up. At that point what they need to do is solve one problem. Then move on to the next. One snag a time. One hiccup at a time. Keeping going. Perseverance. One step at a time. Then another one. PE coach Joe Wicks, now famous for his workout sessions and healthy eating books, began by offering boot camps in a couple of London parks. He would get up early each morning and wait for folks to pitch up. No one came. No one. But he wouldn’t give up. He went to tube stations and handed out flyers, inviting folks to come. Joe says that he had this voice in his head saying, ‘Don’t give up.’
One of the great themes of the Bible is perseverance. Every single character in the Good Book had to press on. It was not easy for any of them. They had battles, struggles and uphill climbs. But there is a constant voice coming through these tales to us. ‘Don’t give up.’ Fix your eyes on Jesus and keep going. One hiccup at a time. One snag at a time. One step at a time. ‘Let’s fix our eyes on the one who gave everything for us, the author of life’s great story. The one who gave us our faith, our hope and our love. Set your eyes on him, and don’t give up.’ Hebrews 12 v 1-2.