The doctors had given me one or two days, and it has now been 14, by the great mercy of God, as it is written, “Great are Your mercies, O Lord; revive me according to Your ordinances,” Psalm 119:156. But the songwriter says, “Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day.” I must now use a walker, and barely can use that. I am glad to have the Lord, Shepherd, Savior, Friend, Redeemer.
Over the past two years, some have urged me to pray 1) importunately, that is, to pray to God desperately and persistently. Some have urged that I pray 2) resignedly, that is, very simply to leave my state of affliction with God and resign. What do the scriptures say? We find both. I have done both. I know those who have counseled me would agree to both.
Jacob: Jacob wrestled with God, “I will not let you go unless you bless me,” Genesis 32:26. He got the blessing. Why? Persistence.
Moses: Moses broke all theology. God told him, “Let Me alone…that I may destroy them.” But Moses entreated the Lord anyway and the Lord “changed His mind,” Exodus 32:11-14. Why? Moses’ persistence.
King Joash: Joash was reproved by the prophet for not striking the arrows to the ground more, as it is written, “So the man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times, then you would have struck Aram until you would have destroyed it. But now you shall strike Aram only three times,'” 2 Kings 13:19. He did not push it hard enough.
Bartimaus: Everyone told blind Bartimaus to be quiet. But he “cried out all the more,” Matthew 20:31. He was healed. Why? Persistence.
Hemorrhaged woman: A woman with anhemorrhage broke through the opposition and got in touch with the Lord, as it is written, “After hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak,” Mark 5:27. How? Persistence.
Canaanite woman: This courageous woman prevailed and received demonic deliverance for her daughter after 1) silence from Christ, 2) after the disciples’ displeasure, and 3) after being called (in effect) a goat and a dog by the Lord. How? Persistence.
The widow: This woman got what she wanted even though the judge was unjust, Luke 18:1f. How? Persistence.
The friend: He got bread loaned to him from a friend for a friend, not because of the friendship, but “because of his persistence,” Luke 11:8.
Your faith: The Lord Jesus gave the centurion these amazing words, “It shall be done to you according to your faith,” Matthew 9:29.
Paul: “Concerning this (thorn in the flesh, a demon, an angel of Satan) I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me,” 2 Corinthians 12:8. Paul was denied, but given compensating grace. He was “well content.”
Paul: He was “hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart.” But he was content to remain and serve the saints, Philippians 1:23f.
The Lord Jesus: After strong cryings and tears to escape the cup, Hebrews 5:7, yet He resigned with these famous words, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will,” Matthew 26:39.
Ultimately we must rest right there, knowing that we are God’s property, bought with a price, and our times are in His hand, Psalm 31:15. Anything further and we would lose our mind trying to twist God’s arm and wondering if, if, if we’d only done more what could have been. And the Spirit of God is a promised helper, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, Romans 8:26.
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