A sanctified stubborn streak – sisu to the Finns

By Dave Henning / January 17, 2020

“[The persistent widow] . . . had what I would  call a sanctified stubborn streak.  Folks like her don’t take no for  an answer, but they don’t take yes for an answer either.  Why?  Because they’re always believing God for something bigger, something better.”- Mark Batterson

“But this woman is driving me crazy.  I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests.”- Luke 18:5 (NLT)

In Chapter 6 (“Fight for It”) of Double Blessing, Mark Batterson describes the Soviet invasion of Finland shortly after the outbreak of World War II.  As Pastor Batterson reports, the Soviet army was three times larger, with thirty times as many airplanes and a hundred times as many tanks.  However, despite such overwhelming odds, the Finnish army emerged from the Winter War victorious.

So, what turned the tied in the Finn’s favor?  As a 1940 article in the New York Times explained, the Finns call it sisu:

“The Finns have something they call sisu.  It’s a compound of bravado and bravery, of ferocity and tenacity, of the ability to keep fighting after most people would have quit, and to fight with the will to win. . . .  A typical Finn is an obstinate sort of fellow who believes in getting the better of bad fortune by proving that he can stand worse.”

Therefore, Mark counsels, it’s often counterproductive to fixate on bad fortune.  Because when we fixate on the cause, we focus on something out of our control.  Instead, the author advises, we need to set our sights on the effect – something we can control.  Furthermore, we must redouble our efforts to do something about the effect.

Finally, Mark exhorts:

“We cannot keep bad things from happening, but we’re still response-able for our actions.  Life will knock you down, but you have a choice to make .  You can stay down.  Or, like a Finnish soldier or Jewish widow, you can get back up with even more determination to fight for what you believe.  A little sisu goes a long way.”

Today’s question: What Bible verses sustain a sanctified stubborn streak in you?  Please share.

Coming Monday: the January Short Meditation- “God placed in the hands of angry people”

Tomorrow’s blog: “Break a sweat for your faith”

About the author

Dave Henning

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