Do you give up too easily? Many remember the famous verse spoken by God when the Israelites were trapped between the approaching Egyptian army and Red Sea, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14 NIV), and extrapolate it to our own lives. But we need to be careful not to appropriate promises and commands given to one particular people and time to every single situation, including our own.
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” (Luke 11:9-10, 13 NLT)
Yes, there are times when God supernaturally intervenes and alters a situation completely on His own without any action on our part and on our behalf in response to prayer–I can attest to this in my own life countless times! Yet I also think we have a tendency to frequently interpret this to mean that we are to do nothing once we’ve “made our requests known to God” (which we are told to do and certainly should!). We forget the parable about the persistent widow–a person in great need who kept begging and begging an insensitive judge until he gave her what she asked, just so she would leave him alone. Jesus’ point was that if an insensitive human responds to persistent begging, how much more will our Father in heaven, who actually loves us–and He was teaching us to keep asking God, and not give up when the answer or solution is not instantaneous.
Far too often, when we pray and no door seem to open we wrongly assume it’s not God’s will, instead of seeing it as Him giving us an opportunity to challenge ourselves and grow. You see, God sometimes answers prayer–sometimes He solves our problem–by allowing us to become desperate enough to pry open a door, even figuratively make a door where none previously existed! Imagine–as an example most us may thankfully never go through–being so hungry that you don’t know where your next meal will literally come from; instead of debating whether you were trained for a particular job or did it before or even want to do it, wouldn’t you find something to peddle or a floor to sweep or simply beg for any available job, even if nothing was advertised? My point is that when the situation is dire enough, God helps us find a way!
Granted, we need to be careful when we do this. We need to stay close to Him in prayer and remain in His will, so we don’t end up “solving” our problem through sin; Abraham, for example, got get a child with Haggai, but it was not God’s will or timing, and caused much unnecessary grief in everyone’s life.
This, then, is the difference between people who trust in God and those who do not. Those who consider God irrelevant do “as seems right to them,” (as apostate Old Testament Israel did), regardless of whether it is a holy and righteous solution or not, but those belong to Jesus Christ do not. We will not “solve” our problem by disobeying God; this would only create new problems because this is what sin does. As a child of God, if I want something I do not have, I will not steal it; if I am unhappy in my marriage, I will not “solve” my problem by disobeying God and entering into a relationship with someone not mine.
Yet I will keep imploring God until a solution presents itself or I become aware of it; until He shows me a crack I can pry open; until a door I didn’t previously see materializes–because He is the God of miracles! He knows the solution to my problem and to every problem; the God who “…spoke, and [everything] came to be…” (Psalm 33:9 NIV) is fully capable of creating a solution out of nothing for me!
So–do you give up too easily? Do you assume because something doesn’t come easily, it’s not God’s will for you? Do you no longer pray, if it doesn’t happen right away? Do you stop applying yourself until you succeed, if you encounter obstacles? Are you not desperate enough to keep imploring your Father in heaven, until He shows you a way? Remember, “…keep on asking and you will receive…keep on seeking and you will find…” Don’t underestimate God’s love for you, and as long as you are in His will–never give up!
Help me be a “persistent widow” before Your throne; thank You that You promised “whatever…you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24 NIV) Give me creativity, ingenuity and perseverance to accomplish what You set before me! Amen.