In It for the Long Haul
By Pastor David
Luke 18:1-8 Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show that they should always pray and not give up. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
I have understood this parable to encourage Persistence in Prayer. It certainly does that, but what stands out to me this time is the word “AND”. This word connects prayer and not give up. But they are still two separate issues.
We are being asked to pray AND not give up. In other words, if there is something we need to be persistent about, PRAY and Stay With It for the Long Haul!
Jeff and I just celebrated our 30th anniversary a few weeks ago. Those 30 years for me represent a life lived well together. I know there are couples who have been together longer than that, but nowadays it seems rare. Every time I turn around someone else is breaking up. It feels like the new norm is, “In it for the short term,” or “In it until what’s next.”
I had a 7 year relationship that ended badly before I dated Jeff. I won’t go into the details, but I will admit that I was at the age when you think you know everything and better than anyone else. I was a teenager when it started. I thought the first time was it, but I did not plan for things to happen over the course of the relationship. I buried my head in the sand and concentrated on my Masters in Engineering degree and refused to address the issues. That did not serve me well, and it gave me an excuse to let things keep sliding by. That was a very difficult time.
I hear people talk about love and falling in or out of love. So many times it comes across as if we don’t understand the differences between the hormones going crazy when we first fall in love, and the sustaining love that endures when that wears off. It seems so many of us expect the hormone phase, or limerence, to go on and on and on, but that is not the way it works. That is not our biology.
We have to work to make love endure. Show empathy to one another. Treat your spouse as a child of God. Do not forget why you fell in love in the first place. Don’t take your spouse for granted.
I have not found it difficult to make love endure over time, but I always remind myself why I fell in love with Jeff, and I always think about something positive when I get in one of those moments where I get frustrated. It usually brings me to a smile.
As you look for a lifetime spouse, put together your relationship endurance list. Call it, “In it for the long haul!” What are the qualities that are absolutely necessary? What are the qualities that are show stoppers? If we make the listtoo long, no one will make the list! We need to be careful about what is “critical” versus “nice to have.”
If you are in a relationship, what does it mean to keep at it for the long hall and where or what do you need to concentrate on? How do you treat each other? Are you Jesus to each other? Do you remember why you first fell in love? What does it mean to be in it for the long hall?
Prayer and persistence. In it for the long haul. There are so many places in life where we can use those principles. Why not use it to help us have healthier relationships? Whether single or already in a spousal relationship, what does your “In it for the long haul” attributes look like?
Perhaps you already made it. Congratulations. But in today’s world it seems to be more of a struggle. There are fewer examples. Schools do not teach us about successful relatiobships. It is as if there was no instruction manual provided. LifeJourney Church offers a course periodically to help with spiritual principles for successful dating. We are looking to add one more for spiritual principles for successful relationships. Would you take such a course?
What does it mean to be in it for the long haul? Pray… and do the hard work!
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