The official letter read, “We regret to inform you . . . [You’ve finally flunked out of our university. You big loser!]” Apparently, staring out library windows, tapping books, and wondering if there is anything else out there, does not pass for actually studying. I’ve always tended toward the art of dreaming over the act of doing, both a gift and a flaw.
Such persistent dreaming resulted in one painful parental conversation. It was summertime on a campus park bench when I had to inform my parents I had flunked out of Texas A&M. Mom cried. Dad listened, baffled. I didn’t have the emotional-spiritual capacity to see or verbalize that behind the failure was a dreamy, little black box of identity crisis. No God, no self-control, no direction to all this flailing passion. Whatever the problem, it was a tough way to learn that the trajectory of our perseverance lands somewhere. Our habits eventually affect results and actually impact others.
In the book of Judges, one woman’s daily persistence altered the direction of another man’s call. Samson, an anointed judge of Israel, had a marked mission from God to deliver Israel from the Philistines (Judges 13:5). Every living Philistine wanted Samson dead, but no beast or army had been able to stop him, except for a woman who persisted.
Delilah, on a counter intelligence mission, pressed Samson to reveal the source of his supernatural strength. She kept on and on and on until Samson finally wore down. Delilah, whose name in Hebrew, דלילה, means “one who weakens,” pried from this military deliverer the secret to his vulnerability – his hair. If Samson ever shaved his head, he would become “weak like any other man” (16:17). Delilah capitalized on his Achilles hair, and led the Philistines to a direct capture. After Samson endured a season of humiliation and regret, God restored his strength. And in one final feat, Samson took out more Philistines than in all his life before.
God also restored my failure. To this day, I keep my Texas A&M and Dallas Seminary diplomas beside my bed, not in my office. They hang to remind me, first thing in the morning, of the danger and vulnerability of my own human perseverance and the effective power of Christ’s.
Whatever you’re up against, Christ in you can out-persevere the perseverance of your flesh. Ask Him to.
Points to Ponder:
1) What do you have a habit of doing daily? Do you believe the results of your habits align with the direction of your life mission?
2) God’s restoration shows, for one, that His mission inevitably perseveres toward the end He intends, one way or another. What do you imagine God could have done through Samson if he had outlasted Delilah? What do you imagine God could do through you if you outlast your appointed opposition?
3) What kind of “Delilah” or opposition do you need to out persevere? Listen to Matt Kearney’s “Won’t Back Down” on his album “Nothing Left to Lose.”
4) Read and prayerfully journal through: Romans 5:4; 2 Thessalonians 3:5; Hebrews 12:1 and James 5:11