“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew, 11:28
By Tim Collison, Leprosy Mission Australia Engagement Manager
Like a shadow on a sunny day COVID-19 seems to be present in all my interactions. It hovers over all my conversations waiting to intrude. It is present at work as we decide how to respond to continued updates. It has meant I can’t visit some family. It has changed how I do church. I wonder if it is the same for you?
I recognise my frustrations with COVID-19 are probably small compared to others. There are people who have lost loved ones. People who have lost work. In the countries The Leprosy Mission Australia supports we have seen hospital systems struggling.
Without an end in sight, how do we continue in faith? I am reminded of three persistent women in the Bible: Hannah in 1 Samuel 1, The Canaanite Woman in Matthew 15, and the Persistent Widow in Luke 18. Hannah prayed for a son for years. The Canaanite Woman debated Jesus. The Persistent Widow kept chasing justice.
I take courage from the persistence of these women. They held on in prayer and to Jesus. They demanded (yes, demanded!) they receive justice. They persisted, holding onto God, for years at a time. This helps me place my prayers in context.
If you’re familiar with the story of The Leprosy Mission you may remember the Pim sisters (you can read more about them here). They were persistent in prayer and support years before there was a cure for leprosy. Australian supporters were persistent in praying for and helping people with leprosy for many years before there was a cure.
We may not receive the answers to prayers for a long time. But that does not mean God is not working. We may have to keep returning to God. But that does not mean He is not listening. Our prayers don’t need to be articulate. Our faith does not need to be theologically sophisticated. God listened to Hannah. Jesus healed the Canaanite Woman’s daughter. The Persistent Widow received justice.
Hold on. God is listening.
Read Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel 1. Read The Canaanite Woman’s story in Matthew 15. Read the parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18. How do these stories encourage you in your persistence?
Father, it seems to just go on and on. I am weary. I know others are too. There are millions suffering. Help them Lord. Help me. Give me persistence in prayer. Encourage my faith. Build up the faith of Christians around the world. Give hope to those with leprosy during these times. Amen.
The last weekend in August is National Prayer Weekend. Why not join supporters around Australia in a 30-minute Zoom prayer meeting for people affected by leprosy Saturday 29th August at 9:30 am EST?
If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.