persistence (noun): the fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition
For my bible study meeting last week, I studied and taught on the persistence of Hannah, whose persistent prayer for a child led to the birth and dedication of Samuel, who would later become prophet. I had read something earlier in the week from a pastor on Instagram who noted that for those who are called to teach, a sermon is really taken from your lifestyle as opposed to writing something that 'sounds good'. Armed with that reminder, I took to applying the lessons from the story of Hannah's prayer and was led down a delightful and eye opening path where God really confirmed that I needed to be more persistent. Whilst many around me would disagree because I don't always utilise my persistence in the best way, to be honest, this is something that God teaches me daily and I learn on a daily basis as patience is the one thing I struggle with.
As I read the story of Hannah, I realised that what Hannah carried, even before she carried Samuel, was purpose. The purpose of her waiting period was so she would birth a prayer that would allow God to raise a prophet for Himself. The reason I say that is because, even after birthing Samuel, she didn't have the responsibility of raising him. That was never God's plan and in order for His will to be done, Hannah need to travail in that season to reach a point of total surrender to God's will. Nothing else would do. And for some of us, that point takes a while - weeks, months, years, depending on what area of our lives we need to surrender. The one thing that was highlighted to me and my lifestyle was that with the calling God had placed on my life, I needed to surrender to Him. I cannot expect God to do His will through me if I am determined to do my will or have things turn out a certain way.
It's now the start of another week and I am learning that lesson all over again *wipes sweat from forehead*. It's really relentless and I thank God for the grace to continually learn this lesson and not falter or grow weary. As I continued to reflect on the story of Hannah, I was led to the story of the persistent widow and the unjust judge. The lesson Jesus highlighted to His disciples was that if an UNJUST judge will give a JUST decision to a persistent widow, how much more the King of Kings who has called us unto Himself? The lessons from my study of Hannah came rushing back at me as God showed me another angle of persistence. We are instructed to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and the God who is made perfect in our weakness will continue to give us the strength to pray until God's will is done in our lives!