My kids are like the poster children for persistence. I mean they all are so deeply committed to follow through and stick-to-itness. It’s like you can’t tempt them to come off task. As long as that task is pleading their case with me about something they want. I mean you don’t even have to tempt them to stop to cleaning their room. They do that all on their own. Working on their math problems? It’s hard enough to get them to start let alone to continue is spite of distraction . But if they want me to buy them something or let them do something, they are on it. This weekend Peter has spent every waking minute, seriously I mean every minute, coming up with a grand plan to convince me that the only right thing to do is to buy him a Nintendo Switch. He began his well crafted argument with offering to give up his longing for a new pet if only I would concede to buying him this life changing game system. In regard to it’s high price tag, he reasoned that the cost of supplies for the pet he would not be getting would cancel that out in no time. And, in case I hadn’t thought of it the Switch would require no cleaning up after. He continued with how child friendly the games are. In a stroke of genius he even showed me the trailer for an app that would limit the time that Ben could play on it. He is really thinking of everyone here. In commenting on it’s portability he presented the argument that they would be able to play it in the car. If they could play these child friendly, super fun games while they were in the car they wouldn’t have time for arguing. And surely I would like that, right??? He has even thrown in the ever popular “If you buy me what I want, I will even give up all my other toys! I mean it this time. Ok, I will even give up my iPod. That’s how serious I am.” I believe he has misunderstood the difference between persistence and pestering. I have assured him 10,000 times that I am considering his petition. But every few minutes he comes to very sincerely ask me if I have decided about the fate of his request. When I tell him I will be sure to let him know when I come to a decision he dejectedly says, “Ok, I guess I will wait. I hope you don’t forget. Oh, and one more thing…It will make me so happy if you say yes. I will be so happy I will never ask for anything again.”
I was laughing inwardly about it when I suddenly realized how much this whole process looks just like what I do with God. I pray and ask Him for what I want. I make sure to spell out all of the reasons I want it. I let Him know all of the reasons that make me sure that He must want it for me too. I include what I will do in exchange for it and even how good it will be for other people if He will just answer in the way I am hoping. And then instead of waiting expectantly while I continue following Him, I go back to ask if He has an answer yet. Again and again and again. And when His response doesn’t come as quickly as I hoped I often answer with a heavy sigh, “Ok, I guess I will keep waiting.I hope you don’t forget. And one more thing. I will be so happy to have an answer, I will never ask for anything again.” It doesn’t make me laugh when I think about it in myself though. I so want to turn over my requests and then just wait. Not just wait for the answer to my request, but to wait on Him. Going about my day looking for where He shows up. Turning my ear to His voice as he speaks about what He wants me to do, how He wants me to see Him as I wait, how I can be certain that He will not forget. It is clear to me that just like Pete I am confusing persistence with pestering. I guess he comes by it honestly. I have no idea yet if his hopes and dreams for the Nintendo Switch will be fulfilled. I’m sure you will be waiting with baited breath to find out. But, I do know that my hope in God’s concern for me will never return void. I may not ever know the answer to the request I have brought before Him but I know that my waiting will produce perseverance, my perseverance will produce character, and my growing character will end in hope.
“Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help,my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:1-3