It was a warm evening. The windows were open to help cool the warm house. The lights attracted a wasp. It flew into the room through one of the open windows.
Sam, a 3-year-old boy, was playing in the sitting room when he noticed a wasp flying round the light. The wasp’s multi-coloured wings attracted the little boy.
Sam’s mother was in the kitchen baking some bread. A maid was watching over Sam as he played.
“I want that!”, Sam said, half commanding half requesting, pointing at the wasp. The maid told him that the flying thing was meant to be seen not to be taken. That didn’t make any sense to Sam. He wanted what he was seeing. There was no amount of reasoning that would make him change his mind.
Realising that the maid was not about to yield to his demands, Sam started screaming and shouting, saying repeatedly, “I want it! I want it!!” He started crying.
The mother shouted from the kitchen, “Give him what he wants!” The maid was at the verge of answering back to explain what Sam wanted but the mother shouted back in an urgent command, “I said, give him what he wants!” Why didn’t she even attempt to find out what it was the boy wanted? The maid had no choice but to let Sam have what he wanted. She rolled a newspaper on her hand and tipped the insect.
When it fell on the floor, she urged the little boy, “Quickly, go grab it!” The maid had been careful not to kill the insect. Both the boy and the mother were about to learn a hard lesson taught by the maid and the wasp.
What followed was a distressed screaming of an untold anguish. Wasps sting painfully and that is what the little boy got. The mother hustled into the living room shouting, “What have you done to my baby?” She was going to hit the maid who quickly shouted at the top of her voice, “He has gotten what he wanted!”
By the time, the little boy let go the wasp, he couldn’t even see the beauty that had attracted him. The multi-coloured wings are only visible when the insect spreads them as it flies.
How many of us can tell the difference between insisting and persisting?
Eating is not optional if one will live and grow. This is as true physically as it is spiritually. When we read the Word of God, we will find out what pleases Him. When we need something, we will ask according to His will. When we know His will, we can persist on what we are asking.
On the contrary, if what we are asking for is more influenced by the superficial attractions and our selfish interests, we are risking closing our ears to the counsel of God.
Both persisting and insisting refer to our resolution and determination to get what we want (need). Nevertheless, one is positive and the other negative—spiritually speaking. To persist is to persevere; to insist is to be adamant even to the counsel of the wisdom of God.
Insisting says, “I will get it anyway. I don’t want to listen to anything cacophonous and I don’t care about the consequences. I don’t want to think about anything that may quench my desire to get what I want”.
Persisting says, “I have considered the premises of acquiring it and the consequences of having it. I will get it, not primarily because of me but because of the One who has showed that it is mine”. Persisting goes for what has already been granted but someone or something is standing in the way.
Sometimes God may not refuse us getting what we insist to have. If we are willing to be guided by His counsel, we wouldn’t get to the point of insisting on anything. The following two examples show what happens when we refuse God’s counsel and instead insist to get our way:
The Israelites complained about the manna in the desert. They craved for the meat that they used to eat in Egypt.
“… They did not wait for His [God’s] counsel,
But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness,
And tested God in the desert.
And He gave them their request,
But sent leanness into their soul”
On another occasion, the Israelites had wanted a king so that they could be like other nations. It was not God’s will for them to have a king. Samuel tried talking them away from it:
“Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said,
‘No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations,
and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles’”.
(1 Samuel 8:19-20—NKJV).
They were ready to pay the price(See 1 Samuel 8).
We need to be cautious. There are things that look good when we see them from a distance but immediately we acquire them, the only thing we experience is pain. All the beauty that attracted us disappears sooner rather than later.
In your prayers, persist but don’t insist!
(© 2005, Daniel Owino Ogweno).
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