The Virtue of Persistence with God

“Yes Lord, but…”

Those were the words of a Greek mother in Mark 7.  She was desperate to help her daughter.  Jesus, she knew, was her only hope.  Leaving her demon-possessed daughter at home in bed, she went and found Him, and begged Him to deliver her daughter.  Jesus said “First let the children eat all they want, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”


Jesus was saying, “I’ve come to reach the Jews.  You’re not a Jew.  I’m not here to help you.”

But she’s not deterred – she doesn’t even flinch.  She doesn’t retreat in humiliation, she doesn’t turn around and go home hopeless in tears.  Instead, she becomes even more determined with Him.  You see it in her response.  Those first three words are marvelous, “Yes Lord, but…”  We might think she’s pushing the limit, or crossing a line with the Son of God.  But, this is exactly what He loves:  tenacity.  I’m sure in that moment Jesus recalled Jacob wrestling with the angel of the Lord saying “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (Gen. 32:26).  Until she got what she came for she wasn’t going to let Him go.  Perhaps Jesus was also reminded of Abraham when he persisted with God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18:22-33).  For that matter, His parable of the persistent widow seeking justice (Luke 18) may very well have been inspired by this woman’s diligence.

Faith expresses itself in tenacity.  The greater our confidence that God is able to do something for us, the greater our persistence with Him will be.  He wants us to want it.  He wants us to see Him as the One who truly can answer.  He wants us to continually, persistently, repeatedly, tenaciously keep coming to Him.  Faith keeps us coming back.  The lack of faith lets us quit.  Faith makes us bold, pressing on when we are not yet answered, “Let us come boldly” Hebrews 4 lets us know, and with “freedom and confidence” Ephesians 3 tells us.

Wear your knees out until you yourself hear: “For such a reply you may go.  Your prayer is answered.”

Keep praying saints.  Do not quit.  And with awe and reverence for God let us not take “No” for an answer.  With a desire that God be praised and glorified for answering us, and in submission to His will, let us keep going until He actually does.

Leave a Reply