“Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action.”- Dallas Willard
Mark Batterson points out in Chapter 9 (“The Seventh Hour”) of The Grave Robber that the distance the royal official traveled between Capernaum and Cana is a twenty-mile uphill climb at a five percent incline. Some miracles, like healing the official’s son, require sweat equity. While our effort can’t make miracles happen, our lack of effort can keep them from happening. Miracles cannot be earned, but effort may be the catalyst.
As Mark has written in All In, most of us only are willing to follow Jesus to the point of inconvenience- no further. Following Jesus becomes problematic when it necessitates a detour in our plans. Mark states: “If you want to experience a miracle, sometimes you have to go way out of your way.” God just may want to see how serious we are- if we’re willing to walk to Cana.
Pastor Batterson emphasizes that the common denominator among miraculous answers to prayer is perseverance. People don’t just pray like it depended on God, they also work as if it depended on them. Some miracles happen in stages. We need to pray again and again and again. Mark encourages us not to let fear become a factor:
“Sometimes we let fear keep us from praying for a miracle because we feel like we will have failed if God doesn’t answer the way we want. That isn’t failure because the answer isn’t up to us. The only way we can fail is failing to ask.”
Today’s question: What has helped you persevere in prayer? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “God’s opinion”