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The Power of Perseverence

Swallowtail Chrysalis Cocoon

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—
his eternal power and divine nature—
have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made,
so that people are without excuse.
 – Romans 1:20

A Lesson in Patience

One September, I cut some leaves from our parsley plant to throw in a salad and discovered on the back of one leaf two swallowtail butterfly eggs like tiny pearls.  We were leaving for the beach the next day, and I was very distressed that I had likely killed the future butterflies.  I called the butterfly house at the science museum in Houston and was told to keep the leaf moist until the eggs hatched, and the caterpillars would live.  So I put the leaf back under the parsley plant, and my dear mother misted it each day for a week.  The night I found the eggs, I dreamed that two caterpillars hatched but later died, and then I looked down and saw a whole clutch of butterfly eggs and knew they would hatch soon and live.

When we returned from the beach, the two caterpillars had emerged and were busily munching parsley.  They next day, I found seven more caterpillars on another parsley plant.  My husband built a butterfly house, and we put the two plants and their inhabitants in it on the front porch.  When it was time to make their chrysalises, the first two died before the process was complete for them, but the next seven completed the process.  Because it was fall, they wintered in their chrysalises rather than emerging two weeks later as butterflies.  They did not emerge until late April.  It took them so long, that I thought they had died.  When they did come forth, one at a time, in their beautiful perfection, it was like a miracle.  And indeed, it seems to me a miracle that something that small, undergoing such extensive change, can survive without any sustenance for so many months.

I tell you this story because the things we pray for are often like those butterflies.  There are things of such life and death importance that we bring before God, and the requirement of patience as we wait for answers to manifest can sometimes feel unbearable.  We can worry that the thing is dead, that there is no hope, but often in nature what appears to be dead is merely dormant and very much alive.

Perseverence Rewarded

I’m reading the book, Intercessory Prayer, by Dutch Sheets (thank you, Kevin Shorter).  In it, he tells a story of praying several times a week for a year for a woman who was considered brain dead from a massive bacterial infection.  Her medical providers considered her to be without hope, but when Dutch prayed, he felt led by the Holy Spirit to pursue her healing through prayer.  He was ridiculed, discouraged and insulted by staff.  After investing 70+ hours of prayer, he saw no outward change in her.  It would be very tempting for most of us to bow to the obvious and give up, but Dutch relied on the unseen, not the seen, and the woman woke one morning, completely restored.  The staff was dumbfounded, the doctors called her a medical miracle, and the nursing home where she stayed was contacted by people as far away as Europe interested in her case.

I want to encourage you to not give up, to persist in your prayers, and to ask God to help you partner with him as you intercede for others.  He will encourage, strengthen, and direct you as you rely on him.

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2 Responses to “The Power of Perseverence”

  1. Paivi Karjala says:

    Dear Prayer Coach,
    THANK YOU for your encouraging words behind the Atlantic. The hard times have struck for many of us in Europe, too. Our debts are increasing. We are afraid. Even if you may have food to eat and an apartment to live, you may lose your hope because of loneliness, desperation, lack of belief, lack of hope:
    It is not fashionable to believe in God in Finland, Europe, any more. Politicians (Timo Soini, Päivi Räsänen et al.) and priests criticizing homosexual marriage laws are being judged as stone aged. Preachers (Pirkko Jalovaara) talking about some sicknesses connecting with demons are denied to preach in many churches.
    At the same time, unquestionably, sciences and materialism are the only religion. Do Europeans think that God is so stupid He does not know sciences? Do we think that He didn’t create the abilities to understand physics, chemistry, mathematics, poetry? “Let’s eat and drink, tomorrow we die!”
    Thank you again for reaching me here in the dark and cold!!! I just joined Twitter which I can’t use, bought a computer to learn coding, work hard at home care, try to pay my debts, and keep warm. May God bless you abundantly.
    Ms Paivi Karjala, Helsinki, Finland

  2. Laura Miller says:

    Hi Paivi,

    Thank you for your comment. I’m very glad you have been encouraged by this blog. Several years ago, I spent many months in Europe (including time in Helsinki), and I struggled with feelings of loneliness and isolation in my faith. So I can imagine the challenges you face. This morning I listened to Bill Johnson who is a pastor of a church in Redding, CA. He had just returned from a trip to Europe, and he said that he saw hunger for God everywhere he went, and that where there is hunger and humility, breakthrough is imminent. Revival may break out any day in any number of places. If you are able, I would encourage you to listen to pastors like Bill Johnson at http://www.ibethel.tv, or Charles Stanley at http://www.intouch.org. One is charismatic-evangelical and one is a traditional baptist. They are just two examples of teachers who might deeply encourage you. Their teachings are free, and they are both compassionate, gentle and wise, and they both have deep relationships with the Lord. You can also find WONDERFUL worship at the ibethel site. You may already appreciate this fact, but if you spend time in worship daily, it can transform your life. I recommend these things because I do them, and they have strengthened my hope and my relationship with Christ immeasurably. I am praying for you this morning.

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