Jesus ended his teaching on the parable by saying will the Son of Man find faith on earth. He used the illustration of a widow who kept coming to a judge with her petition for justice. Her perseverance eventually wore him down and he gave her justice. The point of the parable was the need for perseverance.
Perseverance means steady and continued action or belief, usually over a long period and especially despite difficulties or setbacks. Notice it is steady, not wavering, and continuous, not on again – off again, in its action or belief over a long period. The tendency in our day and age is to look for quick and easy solutions. When things are prolonged we give up, especially if there are difficulties or setbacks. The woman Jesus spoke of had an adversary – one who was opposed to her in a conflict. We have an enemy, an adversary, who is constantly opposing our faith. He accuses us and he accuses God to us. He tries to withhold and block the rewards of our faith. If we turn away and don’t persevere we will lose the goal of our faith.
Faith requires holding on to the promises of God until we see them fulfilled. Abraham, the father of faith, persevered 25 years before he saw the fulfillment of God’s promise to him. Isaac, the son of promise, inherited the covenant blessing of his father. The promise of a nation coming forth through Isaac was dependent on the woman he married. Rebecca was a specific answer to Abraham’s servant’s prayers to find the right woman for his master. Yet she turned out to be barren! Isaac had to pray for healing for Rebecca to see the promise fulfilled. They faced adversity and had to persevere to overcome. Joseph persevered in faith to see his dream of his family bowing before him come to pass. He was sold into slavery, and then wrongfully imprisoned before he came into the fullness of his call. Even while he was in prison, after interpreting the dreams of the baker and the cupbearer, he was forgotten for 2 years. The Lord told Paul in Acts 23:11 that he would testify of Him in Rome. He ended up in prison in Caesarea for over two years. He persevered and received the reward of his faith.
The woman with the issue of blood persevered pressing through the throng surrounding Jesus with one hope in mind, if only I could touch even the hem of his garment I will be healed. Jesus felt power leave him and asked who it was that had touched him. The disciples were exasperated by such a question because there were so many pressing against them. When she realized that he would not be content until she confessed, she came forward. He commended her faith and told her that it had healed her. It wasn’t His prayers, or His faith, or His initiative that healed her. It was her faith persevering that made her whole.
To persevere or not, that is the question.
(excerpt from Faith: The Currency of Heaven - available through this website/Amazon)
(image courtesy of Stuart Miles @FreeDigitalPhotos.net)