Society all around us is in so much flux, our world is at a pace of change from one day to the next we wonder what will come next. I come across many who just want to find rest and make a fundamental adjustment to bring peace. Others who have had enough so to speak, they have tried and tried again but things have worked, what ever the ‘thing is for their life.
We live in a world that constantly speeds things up, instant, immediate delivery, drive thru’s not only for food but for banks, waiting for many has become an alien pastime. Farming and waiting for a harvest is so far removed from many of us today, this is one factor in us losing the art of cultivation, to get a harvest, our harvest today is determined by the fields of fresh food in our supermarkets rather than watching the green shoots raising, waiting for the produce to grow and mature to bring about harvest time. Being distant from the soil disconnects us from some of life’s schooling, being patient and persistent for example. Perhaps a modern parable, rather than one of the soil is this one, I am writing this while in Cape Town with its ‘fast speed’ broadband computer connection, that is as it is sold by Telekom, the government telephone service. The advertised ‘fast speed’, FAST SPEED! It is 384 kbps; about half the speed of the old dial-up-network, that old buzzing hissing noise connection, where Virgin/UK are advertising 20 MB speeds. You can purchase an even FASTER speed of 1 Mbps but its at double the cost for the line! I give up downloading or uploading as its so slow, I give up waiting and persisting, it takes so long, even some necessary downloads i delay until I get to a faster environment.
We struggle to wait and be patient, wanting things NOW, we don’t wait and persevere so easily, we want to see things advancing or we determine it is not working.
We even do strange things, in reading the Scriptures, because we can read the book of Acts in one weekend, we think it all happened in 48 hours. We treat our Christian walk in the same way, thinking it all happens in a weekend, but from Paul’s encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road to his standing before King Agrippa, it was a 20-year period. We see every miracle, healing breakthrough in terms of immediate rather than reality, and we expect it all over and done with in a weekend. By the way, this is not an appeal not to see the immediate work of God but one that adds to us as we have to learn the cultivating and preserving journey of our faith as well. As we learn to see the immediate and the long-term, it gives sense to our daily lives, i hope.
Through out the scriptures we are introduced to people who stayed in, persisted when nothing was happening to the natural eye. Introduced time and time again to a quality of living that is patient, persistent, consistent, staying in.
Two women for you to consider, just don’t switch off on me now, consider these to be shadows of the bride of Christ, the church and outlining attitudes that we find in the church. The first being Mary the mother of Jesus who having had been delivered the earth shattering news of the plan for her life, in giving birth to Jesus having said “be it unto me” learned to cultivate the promise, she held it in her heart, quietly with drew and cultivated the word until it become a living promise in the arrival of her son. Until the word arrived at a place where it could sustain life in itself, interesting thought, how many times have we left the word go before it had life enough to stand by its self, when it still needed our cultivation? She shows us the attitude of how to cultivate all that God speaks to us. There will be the gift of time delivered to us, so that we can cultivate the promise of God, to work with the words to bring it to pass, maturing it first in the inner life before we see it fully. She knew its reality on the inside but it did take a while, 9 months, before it hit the seen realm. The evidences of the promise had a challenged effect on her relationships and as her physical body changed shape to align with the promises, we are to stay in hold on too, being persistent as we change to bring about the promise, that more often for us all takes time.
The next woman who would not give up reading Luke 18:1-8, It’s the parable of the Woman Who Would Not Give Up. She was unrelenting in her pursuit of an answer to her plea. This parable is a standard Jewish “how much more” (qal vahomer) argument: if an unjust judge who cared not for widows can dispense justice, how much more will the righteous judge of all the earth. Who was known as the defender of widows and orphans? It was in a day when it was difficult for widows to get justice because they lacked the means for bribing the officers who would get the judge to act. But this widow would not quit until the judge had given her what she was supposed to get. You and I are to adopt the same attitude of faith. More than that the church of God requires the same attitude of faith. In recent years I have heard people use the phrase of “failed revival theology” a sadness from not seeing what we thought, or we thought by now the Kingdom of God would have arrived and transformed our worlds. It is necessary for us again to take up this woman’s attitude to persist a little while longer.
I don’t know about you but I long for the church to be known as a people of faith who will not give up but press through, I want to be known as a man of faith who will not give up. What i see must be big enough; my message must be big enough to keep me persistent. I must add that God is not unwilling at all but I would focus this on us and our attitude not the Fathers willingness.
Jesus asks his disciples, “When I come, will I find faith in the earth?” As you meditate on this verse consider this:
“Will I find faith?” Jesus asked His disciples, “When I come…will I find faith?” When we have asked for something over and over, and there is no answer, we are tempted to give up, to give in to unbelief. Jesus, knowing the weakness of His disciples both then and now, taught this parable about faith through unrelenting, persevering prayer. A widow who would not give up she persisted, she would not give up. With that in mind, lay hold of what you have seen and the big message Christ brought.
“When I come…” We don’t know when Jesus will come or how he will return with the culmination of every promise made, but when He comes I want to have faith in my heart. By His grace, I will have faith.
‘Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he really find faith on the earth?’ (v. 8). This implies that faith is often strengthened by waiting on God and persistence in prayer, even if we do not receive immediate answers. Job had faith to recognise the goodness of God even when, humanly speaking, all seemed lost (Job 23:8–10).
Persist, persevere, staying in, keeping faith, are all necessary attitudes for our journey how are you’re doing? Given up doing good, don’t let go of promises learn to stay in and hold your heart, keep the faith and watch it grow.