Saturday, 6 February 2016

Don’t Give Up! – Just Walk Another Half a Mile

The view from the hilltop that we almost missed.

Joel Kontinen

While on a short vacation on the Greek Ionian island of Kephalonia a few years ago, my wife and I often took long walks in the evenings. It usually was much more comfortable to walk when the hot Mediterranean sun was not overhead, scorching us.

We wanted to see some rare historical sights. One evening, as it was getting dark, we had to turn back before reaching the ruins of an ancient temple. Little did we know that our destination was under half a mile away.

A few days later we walked up a steep hill in the opposite direction to see some other ruins. The road had more U-turns than anything else. Once again, we had to turn back before reaching our destination. And this time it was just around the corner.

We were eventually able to see both sights.

Back in Finland, we continued our walks. One evening we decided to find out where a narrow winding road led. However, as it was getting dark, we had to turn back.

A few weeks later we set out earlier. This time we were able to make it. We discovered that on the previous try we had turned back under half a mile from our destination.

So, the same thing happened thrice: three times on three different occasions we had turned back just before reaching our destination.

I believe that God used this experience to teach us something about perseverance, a topic that the Bible has much to say about. Jesus spoke of the need to persevere in prayer – not to give up but to keep on asking and praying until we get an answer.

Once, when Jesus was teaching about prayer,

He said to them, ‘Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. ” (Luke 11: 5-8)

On another occasion the Lord tested the faith of a Gentile lady whose daughter was seriously sick:

“From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden. For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said to her, ‘Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.’ And she answered and said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.’ Then He said to her, ‘For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.’ And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.” (Mark 7:24-30)

I believe that sometimes the Lord challenges us to walk another half a mile until we reach our destination, get what we ask, putting our trust entirely in Him. We should not forget that He is more than willing to help us.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.