"The Ba'al Shem Tov spoke to his disciples about such persistence this way: 'A man of piety complained to the besht,* saying, 'I have labored hard and long in the service of the Lord, yet I have received no improvement.
I am still an ordinary and ignorant person.'
And the besht answered, 'Ah yes, but you have gained the realization that you are ordinary and ignorant, and this in itself is a worthy accomplishment, is it not?'
Persistence and perseverance in hard times may not guarantee that we will receive what we set out to do. But what we ourselves can become inside ourselves, in spirit and soul, in the process will be more than worth the effort."
from Becoming Fully Human by Joan Chittister *besht - acronym for Ba'al Shem Tov