Devotional / Blog
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August 11, 2016, 12:00 AM

Persistence


I completed my first week of physical therapy 2 months after knee replacement surgery. My feet still have some healing to go but I am far enough along that I can begin to train my leg and hip muscles, which have a long way to go to be able to return my walking ability to five years ago when it was much better.

Being the impatient person that I am makes me want to fix myself in a week, rather than the six months plus that it will probably take. I sat for two months, having glorious, semi-delusional visions of my return to physical therapy; decked out in spandex and a headband, bench pressing 300 pounds and doing some kind of special martial arts training while Rocky themed music played in the background

In reality, the therapist asked me to do spectacular feats like sitting with my feet on the floor flexing my ankle, raising my toes off of the ground for three sets of ten, or, raising my foot off of the ground and locking my knee for two sets of ten. Meanwhile, a well-meaning seventy five year old woman (I asked her later in the day) came over and tried to encourage me by telling me she had been in my place and it would get better.

And….that was the moment that it ceased to be fun and became work. One week. Great.

Do you ever feel that way when you try to change? Whether we are trying to change our health or deepen our relationship with God or trying to break a habit, at some point our motivation is challenged and it becomes hard. It reminds me of a Bible story I love, the Parable of the Persistent Friend.

Luke 11:5-13  
5  And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves,
6  for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;
7  and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’?
8  I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.
9  And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
10  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
11  What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;
12  or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
13  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Persistence is vital for my rehabilitation. I have big goals for the next 6 months. I have to start at the bottom and work my way up. No matter how boring or hard it becomes I can't give a half-hearted effort. You must also. It will seem like I am making little progress sometimes. It will for you too.

In this passage of Scripture, although the word picture Jesus paints is of a person who bothers a friend in the middle of the night for some extra food until the friend gets up just to be done with him, Jesus is not saying that God is like that; doing His own thing, but if we bother Him enough, He will help us just to shut us up. God cares for us a great deal, on a personal level. Rather, Jesus is saying that God’s timing is good for us and His purpose; sometimes we need to be patient and persistent. In my example, I have many small muscles in my legs that are partially paralyzed. They require a lot of isolated work to make small strides, so I have to do months of what seem to be silly exercises. But it will get better.

Also, verse 13 of that passage tells us that the Holy Spirit is a gift to us in our time of need. I pray that I make good use of that gift by my prayer and study. It is important for me to stay close to God; to speak and listen, to study and see where He is leading me. God will help me. He will lift me up when I need it. He will push me when I am not living up to my potential. He will slow me down when I need to be prudent or patient. He will do this for you too, if you will not ignore Him.

I know where I want to be in 6 months. I know God, if He wills it, can take me much farther. I will stay persistent to that. You too can bring about change if you will stay persistent.

Blessings!


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