Persistence in pursuing God

By: By Cathleen Cathcart - Contributing Columnist

We’ve all wrestled with things such as difficult decisions, health concerns, and relational issues throughout our lives. Sometimes we’re left wondering if we made the right choices. Too often, we give up in the midst of struggle because we simply desire relief more then we desire God’s plan for us. Uncertainty can fuel our willingness to accept any answer, regardless if it is the right one, all for the sake of immediate resolution. Let’s look at how persistence can pay off, change a life, a family, and an entire nation!

As Jacob prepares to meet his brother Esau, he sends his family and all his possessions across the river and is left alone. He has truly reached the point in which schemes and deception can no longer shield him, and his vicarious faith must be experienced on a deeper, more personal level. Jacob is known for his less than respectable ways of getting what he wants, however, his determination and patience were often admirable. When faced with struggle and a crippling wound, Jacob refuses to let go until he receives a blessing!

Genesis 32:22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. 23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

Jacob’s persistence brought him the blessing he desired as well as a permanent change from the man he used to be. When we are determined to have a personal experience with God, giving up is the only thing that can stop us! When we struggle through difficult conditions, our character develops and our spiritual strength increases. God wants us to be persistent in our pursuit of Him. We must be careful not to settle for less when we grow weary in struggling with earthly cares.

Be encouraged today that no matter what deception your past may reveal, you can have a blessed future in Jesus Christ. We have the ability to overcome and be changed just as Jacob did. Jesus wrestled, died, and defeated death — all for us! You may feel alone, forsaken, and hurt, but remember, just as Jacob temporarily stayed behind without his family, you too may be facing a lonely battle on the brink of receiving the greatest blessing of your life. Hold on and don’t let go… the morning will come!

I pray, “Father, strengthen me that I may never give up on my blessing. Change me from the selfish and sinful person I do not want to be, and fill me with Your Spirit, Your love, and Your kindness. Make me a new creature, called by a new name, with a new walk for all to see. In Jesus’ name I ask, amen.”

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By Cathleen Cathcart

Contributing Columnist

Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.

Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.