God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Don't Give Up

One of the themes of this week's scripture is persistence or perseverance in prayer.
5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give 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!”  Luke 11:5-13
The suggestion of the passage seems to be annoy God by bothering him constantly.  If you prayer your concern again and again eventually you will wear God down with your prayer and  the prayer will be answered.  So if this worked every teen girl in the country would be married to their celebrity crush from their teens.  We all know that didn't happen.
So what do we do with this passage.  What does being persistent in prayer mean?  When we are in the midst of hard times : divorce, illness, job loss, death... We start praying,  We pray for the pain to go away.  We pray for a good outcome:  the job we want, the perfect spouse, a cure... We prayer over and over again that where we are won't be where we will be.  We ask and ask, knock and knock, and yet in the moment it seems like the prayer was not answered, the door is not opened.
So what if persistence and perseverance is not about wearing God down and giving you the answer you want?  What if this passage instead is about not giving up?  When in the midst of grief, pain, loss our desire is for the feeling to go away, for a change to come.  And in that pain can we hear this persistence as don't give up, seek God, search for God.  Don't give up.  I am with you. I will be with you. I will help you get to the other side. I was struck by this, as RiverSong and I took my morning walk.  For the second song that came on the shuffle was Don't Give Up as sung by Bono and Alicia Keys.  I usually listen to Peter Gabriel singing this.  But this morning Bono showed up and sang
Don't give up 'cause you have friends Don't give up, you're not beaten yet Don't give up, I know you can make it goodDon't give up, you still have us Don't give up, we don't need much of anything Don't give up 'cause somewhere there's a place where we belongRest your head, you worry too much It's going to be all right When times get rough you can fall back on us Don't give up, please don't give up
Don't give up.  Persevere.  And in your prayer, God will be there seeking you, listening to you, answering the door.

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