The Quality of Perseverance
It was perseverance and patience that finally enabled the young Clyde Tombaugh to discover the planet Pluto. Astronomers had already calculated a probable orbit for an object that was causing perturbations in Neptune’s orbital movement. Tombaugh took up the search for the suspected planet in March, 1929. He examined scores of telescopic photographs, each showing tens of thousands of star images in pairs under the blink comparator, or dual microscope. It often took three days to scan a single pair of photographs. It was exhausting, eye-straining work, in Tombaugh’s own words, “brutal tediousness.” The search went on for months. Star by star, Tombaugh examined 20 million images. Finally, on Feb. 18, 1930, as he was blinking a pair of photographs in the constellation Gemini, “I suddenly came upon the image of Pluto!” It was the most dramatic astronomical discovery in nearly 100 years.
Great achievements do not come cheaply. It requires a combination of vision and hope to persevere and endure the “brutal tediousness” that can discourage and derail the majority of people. The quality of perseverance is a biblical virtue and an evidence of Christlike character (2 Peter 1:5-8).
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