Stubborn Faith

Then [God] said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” – Genesis 32:26

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. – Colossians 4:2


Starburst effect from a drop of water in the middle of this water lily. Taken in our back yard (of a previously-owned house).

Martin Luther is said to have prayed to God in behalf of his friend, colleague, and Reformation confidant Philip Melanchthon, approaching God by “rubbing [God’s] ears with all the promises from His own word.” He then exhorted and commanded Melanchthon to be of good cheer, because God did not desire the death of the sinner, but needed further services from him; told him that he himself would rather depart now; had food prepared for him when he was gradually becoming convalescent, and upon his refusal to eat, threatened: “You will have to eat, or I will put you in the ban.” That is stubborn faith.

Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord (thought by many to be the pre-incarnate Christ]  and refused to let go of him until he received a blessing from him. Following that wrestling match, the angel told Jacob that he had striven with God and with man.

Paul tells us to continue steadfastly in prayer; the image of which points to anything but a timid and wistful sighing of faint hopes. This is a call for robust, bold, and courageous prayer.

Not to be irreverent such stubborn faith is like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz finally pulling back the curtain of the Wizard to reveal the man running the machine. It is like finally getting the courage to ask the boss for the raise. Directly. Confidently. Pointedly.

All this, however, hinges upon the goodness of God, his promises about prayer, love, forgiveness, and salvation. We may need to bolster ourselves up, and fortify ourselves with the word of God. Indeed we ought to do just that. But unless there is a good God to whom we pray we are sadly whistling in the graveyard, and the monsters will get the better of us.

Our good and gracious God invites robust prayer and bold faith, and receives all who come to him,and making heroes of those who would dare to trust his promises no matter what.

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