Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Luke 18:1-7 -- On Persistence

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?"
Luke 18:1-7

This is an interesting parable, and it is repeated with a different emphasis in D&C 101:81-84.  This parable is told a little bit backwards from other ones.  In many others, the story is told, and then we figure out what it means.  In this one, the verses start out with the lesson that we are supposed to learn, and then illustrate it with a story. :)  The lesson is that we are supposed to always pray and not faint, and the story backs this up with an illustration. :)
Prayer, and life, require persistence.  We often want to just ask once and get our blessings immediately, or at least with next-day delivery.  But God is not FedEx, and we're not ordering mittens.  My students used to want to turn in a rough draft and get an A... and I am not above that either.  I did the same in school sometimes.  But a rough draft is never, ever our best effort, and one prayer is never our best effort either.  It's like expecting someone to want to marry us because we posted a nice photograph online, or thinking that being in love with someone is enough and it is smooth sailing after that.  If only relationships, or love, were that easy.  Like the widow in the story, it takes an awful lot of persistence to help things work out in life.
In essence, God is telling us not to give up... to keep trying, even when things look dark or hopeless. Things get better, if we keep working at it.  Today, let's take this lesson to heart.  Let's never give up.  Let's keep praying, and trying, and working for a better life, a better self, and a better world.

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