Perseverance in the Age of the Quick Fix

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Most every relationship, no matter how wonderful, also entails the not-so-wonderful. Parenthood’s great joy also brings frustration with our infants and adolescents. Friendships are far from flawless.

Our relationship with God comes with our expectations of what He will do for us. When they go unrealized, we are disappointed. Who has not grown restless in prayer? We utter a petition for someone seriously ill, and the silence disheartens us. We want results now, and God responds too slowly.

The late Edwin Friedman was a pioneer in family systems and leadership development. On the cover of his final book, A Failure of Nerve, the subtitle caught my attention: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. Most organizations are impatient, he says. Employees and staff want a leader to resolve complexity and declare that a company’s inherent problems are both easy and painless to solve.

Marriage therapists hear the same thing. Couples want one or two sessions to fix relationships that have developed hurtful issues over many years.

In parenting, prayer, marriage, or faith in Christ, perseverance is essential: not merely the tenacity fueled by the will, but the gift of perseverance granted to us as we pray to the One who is always faithful.

When Jesus traveled to Tyre and Sidon, a Canaanite woman asked Him to heal her daughter (Matt. 15:21-28). In this rather troubling, mysterious encounter, in the face of her request, Jesus was silent. Undaunted, she asked again. Jesus told her then that His primary mission was to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Her foot was in the door, however, and she refused to budge.

Jesus then said something fascinating to the woman—something He never said to His own disciples: “Great is your faith.” A true disciple is one who survives every silence, every frustration that comes with believing. This woman embodied perseverance and helps us define faithfulness.

Faith is for the long haul, the good days and the bad. What better way to witness to our faith than by waiting patiently for God to act in His own way? In the Age of the Quick Fix, an extended wait can be frustrating. But when Jesus pointed to an example of faith, he held up a Canaanite woman who trusted that God would ultimately act.

Questions for Reflection:

  • Why did Jesus first respond with silence when the woman made her request? Do you ever feel like Jesus is silent to your requests?
  • Think about your daily work. How are your long term plans different from your short term goals?
  • We must all resist the tyranny of the urgent. How can we prevent our short term goals from superceding our long term plans and our overall all vision?