By: Clay Holland, Senior Pastor, Christ the King Presbyterian Church
April 23, 2018
“Mom, may I have some Fruity Pebbles?” “No.” “How about Cocoa Puffs?” “No.” “Lucky Charms?” “Please stop.” The weekly conversations between my mother and me at the Sunflower grocery store in Jackson, Mississippi prove that persistence does not always pay off. My mother knew what I needed, and no fit I could throw could persuade her to give me what would be harmful to me, no matter how much I wanted it.
God delights in giving his people good gifts. This truth is exactly what makes the parable he tells in Luke 11:5-8 so confusing. Why would the man let his friend knock and beg and knock some more before he got up and gave him some bread? It seems to highlight both the friend’s persistence and the man in the house’s honor. When Luke reports that the man got up “because of his impudence,” the ‘his’ is ambiguous. Whose impudence? The friend’s? The man in the house’s? Maybe it is a little of both. The friend refused to take no for an answer because he knew the character of the man in the house. The man in the house was the type of man who knew that he could not send his friend away empty-handed. The friend was impudently persistent. The man in the house was impudently honorable. He gave his friend bread not just because he wanted it, but because he needed it.
We often look at our lives, our churches, and our city and exclaim, “How long, O Lord? How long will I struggle with the same besetting sins? How long will marriages crumble, children rebel, and men and women fall into despair? Where are you, God? Where is revival?”
Luke 11 reminds us that this is a good prayer, and it is a good prayer to pray often – very often. Many times we have to spend days and weeks and months and even years persisting in prayer. But God is an honorable God. He gives us what we need, and he always changes us in the process. God is always at work.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my souland have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.