Be Persistent

Be Persistent
Author: Roger Sealey, Guest Services/Care Director
The Parables of Jesus - Part 11
On Sunday, Pastor Tim spoke about the parable of the persistent widow and described three ways God answers prayer: “yes,” “no,” and “not right now.” Persistence is a difficult thing to learn. It goes right alongside patience. Anyone who has children knows how hard those lessons are. It is an internal battle. We don’t want to be patient; we want our answers now. We want to be in control, even if it’s just the timing, but we don’t even control that! So, that leaves us needing to be persistent in prayer and trusting in God’s timing.
“He then told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not become discouraged: There was a judge in a certain town who didn’t fear God or respect man. And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ “For a while he was unwilling, but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or respect man, yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.’”
– Luke 18:1-5
I grew up the son of a minister—a pastor's kid. We lived mostly in California (ages 2-13) and Arizona (ages 13-35, give or take a few years while in the Air Force). Recently, I was listening to a CD of one of my dad’s last sermons. He spoke about one of the families from the congregation in Vallejo, California. The family consisted of a dad (Bob), a mom (Nordeen), two teenage daughters, and two sons in their 20s. Now, keep in mind, this is how I remember things from when I was around seven or eight years old. Bob owned and operated a towing service; Nordeen had a candy shop and led worship on Sundays. If you’re not familiar with Vallejo, it is a short drive from San Francisco, near the Napa Valley. At the time, it was best known for its Naval base and shipyards.

My father spoke about one of the daughters from that family and what could only be described as a miracle meeting with an angel and an answer to her prayers. An hour before her high school graduation, her car broke down 30 minutes from where she needed to be. She was rescued by the side of the road by a stranger, and when she turned around to thank the man, he and his car were nowhere to be seen. But I remember another miracle that happened in this family.

God works miracles in unexpected places.

As I remember it, one of the sons passed away in a car accident. Bob and Nordeen had not been Christians for very long. At that small church of 50, we had an altar call at the end of every service. After her son’s accident, Nordeen didn’t miss an altar call for a couple of years. 

You see, her other son was starting down a path into drugs and did not have a relationship with Christ. I still remember my dad answering a call in the middle of the night and finding out their son Rob had found Christ earlier that night. 

I believe that Nordeen’s persistent, patient prayer was answered in God’s time. It may surprise you, but their son Rob led my Sunday School class a few years later. He was tremendously impactful in my life. Rob was open about his past drug use and steered me far away from it growing up. Rob wasn't the typical Sunday school leader, and almost 40 years later, I still remember him vividly. God works miracles in unexpected places. I found out that God called Rob and his wife into youth ministry 30 years ago, and to my knowledge, they are still serving in ministry today.
“Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.”
–  Romans 12:12
Is there something troubling you today? Is there something that you should be patiently and persistently praying for? Is someone in your life, perhaps a friend, or a family member, in need of prayer? Bring it to God and be patient, knowing that our perfect God has our best interests at heart, and we can trust in His plan.

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