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Are you a naturally persistent person? My youngest son, Andrew, is the most persistent human I’ve ever known.
The dictionary defines the word persist this way: to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc.:
Yes, Andrew knows how to continue firmly and steadfastly despite opposition.
How about patience? Are you a naturally patient person? Andrew does not have this gift.
Reading in 1 Kings, I found a story that taught me the beautiful combination of patience + persistence. In fact, I have come to believe it takes a certain level of patience in order to persist. Maybe Andrew is patient after all.
I encourage you to read 1 Kings Chapter 18 fully.
In 1 Kings Chapter 18, Elijah was the prophet, and the land had been under a 3 year drought. Verse 1 starts out “After a long time, the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year: Go and present yourself to Ahab. I will send rain on the surface of the land. So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.”
A lot takes place between the beginning of this chapter and the end. Elijah has a showdown with Ahab to reveal to the people who the one true God was. Afterwards, and before any signs of rain had come, Elijah told Ahab, the king at that time, to go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a rainstorm. Ahab did as Elijah instructed. Meanwhile Elijah went up to Mt. Carmel and bowed down with his face between his knees. He assumed a posture of worship and praise.
While we wait for God, we worship and praise.
Now skip to verses 43-46: “And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” 45 And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. 46 And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.”
Elijah persisted in prayer and he persisted in belief and trust in God despite what he saw.
Each time his servant came back and reported that he saw nothing, Elijah would send him back again. I imagine Elijah just kept praying and trusting.
I wonder how different the story may have been if Elijah simply lost faith and stopped praying.
Something interesting to note, when the servant finally returned with a positive report, he didn’t report that he saw huge black storm clouds and overwhelming evidence of rain. No, he saw a cloud as small as a man’s hand coming from the sea.
Think about that for a minute. A cloud as small as a man’s hand. Sometimes the evidence of God’s work will come in small packages.God’s work may appear in the smallest of forms, but be watching so you don’t miss it.
When Elijah heard this report he went into action mode in preparing for rain.
In your circumstance, prepare for the rain. Prepare to see the evidence of what God is doing. But first persist in prayer
Elijah persisted in prayer.
Let’s be like Elijah and patiently persist in prayer all the while eyes wide open to even the smallest movements of God. The small movements of God over time accumulate into blessings too big to count.