DON’T GIVE UP PART 1

IT TAKES FAITH AND PERSISTENCE TO GET AN ANSWER TO PRAYER

Faith is a requirement for answered prayer. But there’s another aspect of faith that God wants us to have because it’s also a requirement for getting miracles and answers to prayer. This aspect of faith is called perseverance, persistence, or endurance. It’s called not giving up. God wants you to persist and persevere in faith. He wants you to keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking, keep on confessing, keep on waiting, keep on enduring, keep on believing.

Why? Because PERSEVERANCE IS A CONDITION OR REQUIREMENT FOR ANSWERED PRAYER. Hebrews 6:11-12 tells us,  And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:  (12)  That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Now the word patience literally means ‘endurance’ or longsuffering. It means to patiently suffer, wait, and endure. A lot of Jesus’ miracles in the Gospel accounts were performed immediately. That is, a person asked Him for help and, right then and there, the person got his/her miracle.

But when the Lord tells us here in Hebrew 6 that we inherit the promises by faith and patience, the Lord’s telling us what we already know from experience, namely, that not every prayer is answered right away as far as a manifestation is concerned. Not every miracle is performed instantly right after you’ve asked. Some miracles and answers to prayer take time. That’s just the way it is. We can’t have everything right away. And we can’t tell God what to do or when to do it. God’s the Giver, He’s the Healer, He’s the Miracle-Worker; and He’ll give, heal, and work a miracle, in His own good time and way.

By God’s design, He let us wait. He lets us suffer some more. He lets the storm rage on for just a little bit longer. Why? Because He wants to teach us to wait, persevere, and persist. Why wait? Because He’s decided that THERE ARE TIMES—NOT ALL THE TIME, BUT SOMETIMES—WHEN WE NEED TO BELIEVE AND WAIT BEFORE WE GET AN ANSWER TO PRAYER. In verse 15 of our Scripture text we read that Abraham, after he patiently endured, he obtained the promise. Do you know how long he waited and patiently endured before he got what God promised him? 25 years!

Thankfully, God doesn’t let us suffer and wait for 25 years every time  we pray and ask Him for something. But still, when God decides that He wants us to suffer and wait before we get our miracle, He wants us to know that, EVEN THOUGH HE HASN’T ANSWERED OUR PRAYER YET OR HASN’T GIVEN US OUR MIRACLE; HE NEVERTHELESS STILL WANTS TO GIVE IT TO US. But we’ve got to wait, suffer a little bit more, hang on, and don’t throw in the towel. Brethren, don’t quit believing. Don’t quit asking. Don’t quit expecting. Don’t quit confessing. Don’t quit hoping. Don’t give up!

Now the text of Scripture here in Hebrews 6:12exhorts us to be followers of them who, through faith and persistence, get the promises. The word follow here literally means to mimic or copy; to imitate or be just like someone else. In other words, we’re supposed to be just like those persons in the Bible who got promises, miracles, and answers to prayer because they believed God, and suffered, and waited; they persevered, persisted, and endured; until they got what they asked God for; or got what God promised to give them.

Since we’re supposed to mimic these people who got their miracles, we’ve got to know who they are and see what they did. After all, we can’t copy someone if we don’t know who they are or what they did. So with this in mind, I’d like to spend the rest of our time  looking at a couple of people who got what they wanted because they persevered.

 A BLIND MAN THAT WE CAN MIMIC

Mark 10:46-52  And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.  (47)  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.  (48)  And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.  (49)  And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.  (50)  And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.  (51)  And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord,  that I might receive my sight.  (52) And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Jesus and His disciples were traveling through Jericho on their way to Jerusalem. They were going there for the Passover feast. This was one of the yearly feasts where every Jew, thirteen years old and older, was required to attend. So, there’s a lot of people from all over the region, continent, and empire, traveling along with Jesus, going to the Passover in Jerusalem.

As they were leaving Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting by the side of the road. When he heard that Jesus was passing by, blind Bartimaeus cried out and said, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.  Evidently, Bartimaeus had heard enough about Jesus and His miracles to know that Jesus could heal him of his blindness. Just as importantly, as every Jew would know, he knew that one of the things that Messiah would do when He comes is, he would restore sight to the blind (Isaiah 42:7,16). The Messiah, the Son of David, is here! He’s just a few short feet away! Here was Bartimaeus’ golden opportunity to get healed!

So he called out to Jesus. Now Bartimaeus isn’t talking in a conversational tone of voice or volume. There’s a huge crowd around Jesus. There’s a lot of talking going on, a lot of noise, so Bartimaeus has to yell and scream  in order to be heard. So he yells, Jesus, thou Messiah of Israel, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. Saying have mercy on me, to a Jew, was the same as saying, heal me, or help me.

So here is blind Bartimaeus. He cries out to Jesus to heal him and do you know what? He doesn’t get a response. Maybe Jesus didn’t hear him. So he yells out a second time. And this time he yells out louder. And do you know what Jesus does? He keeps right on walking past Bartimaeus! So what does Bartimaeus do? He keeps on yelling and shouting, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. He was yelling so loud and persistently that the people who were traveling with Jesus came to Bartimaeus and told him to shut up. Now if these people who told Bartimaeus to shut up heard him yelling, then you can be sure, absolutely sure, that Jesus heard him too. But Jesus doesn’t stop to acknowledge or help him. 

Do you know what Bartimaeus did after he was told to stop yelling? He went right back to yelling. And because Jesus just keeps on walking, now He’s farther away from Bartimaeus. So Bartimaeus yells out even louder. Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. Bartimaeus, you see, didn’t give up. He didn’t quit yelling when he was ordered to quit yelling. He didn’t listen to what people were telling him to do.

What’s even more significant, bold, and blatant about Bartimaeus is this. He’s yelled out to Jesus. Jesus doesn’t pay him any mind. He ignores him. He keeps right on walking past Bartimaeus. Jesus hasn’t stopped or skipped a heart beat. He’s continuing to walk towards Jerusalem. And if you and I didn’t know Jesus any better, we would have interpreted Jesus’ actions here to mean, Bartimaeus, Jesus is walking past you. He isn’t stopping. I guess He doesn’t want to heal you. If He wanted to heal you He would have stopped. But He didn’t. I guess it’s not His will  to heal you. You’ll just have to live with it and get over it. Jesus is  in a hurry to get to Jerusalem. He ain’t gonna stop for you.  So shut up and quit yelling for Him.

Do you see what I mean? Jesus has ignored Bartimaeus and the message that Bartimaeus is getting is, Jesus doesn’t want to stop and help me. Bartimaeus ignores the message. He doesn’t let Jesus’ apparent “No” discourage, deter, or stop him from yelling and asking some more. He doesn’t take a No from Jesus! How bold, blatant, and presumptuous can you be? This guy wants to see. And he’s not going to let anyone, including Jesus Himself, stop him from at least asking. Bartimaeus will not be silenced. Bartimaeus will not be denied.

If you were Bartimaeus—if you were told by more than one person on more than one occasion to shut up and quit yelling; if the message you got from Jesus was that He wasn’t interested in healing or helping you; would you have stopped yelling?

Bartimaeus, you see, wanted to be healed bad enough. He was blind. He couldn’t follow Jesus around like the rest of Jesus’ followers. I’m convinced that, if he could, he would have followed Jesus to the ends of the earth until Jesus gave him what he wanted. But, alas, his blindness prevented his mobility. Jesus didn’t come to Jericho every day. But on this particular day, Jesus was here. Who knows when He’ll be by this way again. As it turns out in hindsight, Jesus would not be in Jericho again. He’s on His way to Jerusalem to die. This was the last known time that Jesus would be in Jericho. For Bartimaeus, and unknown to him, there is no second chance. There’s no other opportunity to get ahold of Jesus. Jesus is here right now. And now is all the time, the only chance, that Bartimaeus has to get ahold of Jesus. So Bartimaeus just keeps on persisting and calling out for Jesus. He’s gonna get ahold of Jesus if it’s the last thing he does.

Jesus has left Bartimaeus in the distance. But He stops now and tells His disciples to go back there and fetch this screamer. What do you want, Bartimaeus? And the blind beggar answers, Lord, I want to see. I’d like for you to see just how big, or how strong, Bartimaeus’ faith was. Bartimaeus was blind. And in those days, as even in ours, there was no cure for blindness. Blindness was something that you lived with for the rest of your life. But not Bartimaeus! He wasn’t content to live the rest of his life blind—not as long as Messiah was here. Not as long as the Miracle-worker was here. Bartimaeus believed he could be healed and see. Wow! What faith! And what persistence! If only we all could be like this blind beggar!

Jesus, in response, says, Go your way. Your faith has made you whole! Hallelujah! What a God! What a dramatic scene! What started out as a denial became a later miracle. An initial denial or refusal from Jesus could have been so discouraging, so devastating, so depressing, as to cause Bartimaeus to quit believing, quit hoping for a miracle, quit yelling. But Bartimaeus refused to take a No, even from the Lord! He persisted and kept on asking, kept on believing. He didn’t give up! And as a result, he went home seeing.

God’s initial refusal or no, my friend, does not mean that it’s not His will to answer your prayer or give you your miracle. God’s initial, continuing refusal is simply His way of getting you to yell some more and keep on yelling. Why? Because you need to believe and persist if you want your miracle.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 2. The inspirational example of a couple of blind men who would not be denied.

1 Comment

  1. April 18, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    I enjoyed this message. I never thought of it this way. Great perspective!


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