After twenty tries she began to make the papers. After thirty-seven she made the Guinness Book of World Records. She kept trying and nine years after her first test, she passed. And no, her examiner did not just take pity on her—he didn’t know anything about her previous failures until she told him, after he passed her. This woman spent over $700 taking driving lessons. Even though she became a laughingstock, she never gave up.
How easily do we give up? How many times do we have to fail before we say, “It isn’t worth it?” If we’re talking about overcoming a sin, I hope we have the endurance of Mrs. Hargrave. If we’re talking about praying, I hope we ask again and again. If we’re talking about having a relationship with God, I hope persistence is our middle name.
Remember the Syrophenician woman whose little girl was ill with a demon (Matt 15:22ff)? The first time she approached Jesus he never even acknowledged her. The second time he insulted her. Yet still she kept coming and soon her great faith was rewarded.
Remember the parable of the widow who pestered a judge to death until he finally gave her what she wanted (Luke 18:1ff)? Just to get her off his back he relented. Jesus’ point is if it works with an unrighteous man, surely it will work with a Holy Father.
Remember Paul’s admonition to the Galatians? They seemed to be wondering if all their labor was worth it. Paul reminded them of the law of reaping and sowing. Sooner or later, he said, you will benefit from the good works you do. Do not grow weary of doing good for in due season we will reap if we do not give up. Waiting for God’s timetable may well be the most difficult thing He has asked us to do, and the greatest test of our endurance. Don’t give up.
The church at Ephesus may have had many faults, but the Lord does say to them, I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary, Rev 2:3. Can He say that about us? Or have we given up, whining about the pressures of temptation, not just bent but completely broken from the trials, deciding that being a disciple of Jesus’ simply isn’t worth the bother?
What if He had decided you weren’t worth it? What if he had told God that the cost was too high, that you weren’t worth the trouble, the pain, the anguish of taking on a human form and dying a hideous death after the spiritual torture of taking on every person’s sin throughout all history? What would you say to him if you knew he had been about to quit? How hard would you have begged him not to?
Surely you have more grit, more tenacity, and more determination for spiritual things than a 62 year old grandmother had for a driver’s license. Surely you won’t give up now.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted, Hebrews 12:3.