We are back with another round of the #MidweekWorshipConnection! I am so excited that you are joining us for another thirteen weeks of these 10 minute videos placed right in the middle of your week to help you focus on Jesus and connect with the Father through the miracle of modern technology and the power of the Holy Spirit.
We just wrapped up our “5k Every Day in the Month of May” 2021 challenge, and it was awesome! We had over 600 people sign up from around the country (and even a few out of country), and each person committed themselves to walking and / or running at least a 5k (or 3.1 miles) every single day in the Month of May 2021.
What an amazing commitment and incredible journey! I don’t have the final numbers just yet, but as of right now, it looks like nearly half of those 600 plus participants persisted in their commitment and completed the challenge!
Looking back on the challenge, I am reminded of a parable that Jesus told in Luke 18:
…He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”Luke 18:1–8, ESV
What an interesting story. Why did Jesus tell this story about a “persistent widow”, again?
He actually tells us the reason for the story. He told this parable to remind us to always pray and not lose heart. You can see that clearly in verse 1.
I think that God loves it when we make a commitment and stick to it—especially if it is a good, God-honoring commitment.
Back in 2017, I set a goal to run a marathon and qualify for the Boston Marathon. It was a huge goal for me, but I felt like God was in it and I committed myself to the goal. It’s never a bad idea to take care of the body that the good LORD has given us, right?
I worked hard, stuck to my running commitment, and ran a Boston qualifying marathon in Michigan that fall. I needed to finish in 3 hours and 10 minutes, but by the grace of God I managed to finish in 3 hours, 7 minutes, and 1 second! I qualified for the Boston Marathon by 2 minutes and 59 seconds! I was elated. But as it turned out, even though I QUALIFIED for Boston, I was not ACCEPTED into the Boston Marathon. I didn’t realize that it is a two-step process. The first step is running fast enough to qualify, but the second step is to be among the fastest runners who actually get accepted.
I was obviously disappointed to be so close but not actually reach my goal. No worries. Persistence pays off, right? So I stuck to my commitment and set my sights on another marathon in Kentucky in the spring of 2018. By then I was stronger, faster, and more confident than ever that I would reach my goal. But I didn’t reach my goal.
I was on pace to shatter my PR, but everything fell apart on mile 12. My calves turned into solid rocks, and it took everything I had in me just to finish the race. I missed my Boston qualifying time by more than 5 minutes. Even worse, I injured myself by muscling through to the finish line.
This began a long, hard road to recovery, but I stuck to my commitment and ran a marathon the following year in Connecticut at a much slower pace. My goal for that race was just to finish and actually feel good at the end.
Then I ran as a pacer in a marathon in Ohio in the fall of 2019. That was a great experience because I was able to help others reach their goal, while still working towards getting strong enough to reach my own goal.
Then in December of 2019, after years of running, recovery, persisting, and pushing forward, I ran a marathon in Delaware in 3 hours and 1 second. I qualified for Boston, and I am so excited to say that with that finish I was ACCEPTED into the 125th running of the Boston Marathon!
I tell this story as a way of hopefully reinforcing what Jesus taught us in Luke 18. Persistence in running, even through adversity, disappointment, and pain, really did pay off. How much more does our persistence in PRAYER pay off!
If God cares about me and my silly marathon goals, how much more does He care about our prayers for people?
I want to encourage you today to be persistent in your prayers! God doesn’t always answer our prayers the first time that we ask Him—or the second, or the third. Some prayers take years and tears and heartache and pain before we ever see the answer. In fact, some prayers we won’t even know God answered until we see Him face to face in eternity.
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?
Keep praying. Keep believing. Keep persisting. God is not bothered by our constant asking—He is blessed by our faith that He can and will answer.