«The prophet Elisha was sick with a fatal disease, and as he lay dying, King Joash of Israel went to visit him. ‘My father, my father!he exclaimed as he wept. ‘You have been the mighty defender of Israel!’ » (2 Kings 13:14, GNT).
I MET HER after four years of sheer effort to graduate. That young woman had obtained great achievements thanks to her hard, tenacious work in spite of her bad beginnings. Her mother had given her away as a newborn and her father abandoned her. In spite of this, she pressed on. She paid for her university studies by cleaning houses in the morning; she studied at night. I admired her very much, since people like that are an example of persistence and determination, unlike other people who are just the opposite, like King Joash.
Joash, king of Israel, was far from being a persistent and hardworking man. On one occasion, he felt deep discouragement because of his enemies and sought the prophet Elisha to ask for help. The prophet of God gave him symbolic directions that the king was supposed to carry out with faith and bravery. The first was to «take a bow and some arrows.» The use of bows and arrows in ancient times was a decisive factor in battles. Bows and arrows could be used, from a distance, to reach the target effectively. The next instruction from the prophet was, «Put your hand on the bow,» and Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands. «Open the east window,» continued the prophet, since the enemy was located in that direction. «Shoot!» While Joash shot, Elisha cried out, «The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria.» Finally, the prophet instructed, «Strike the ground,» but the king struck it only three times and stopped, although Elisha had not told him to stop. Then «the man, of God was angry with him, and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it!’ » (2 Kings 13:14-19).
How many times have you quit and given up on a worthy goal because it involved effort? How many times, seeing clearly that God gave you a mission, did you say «no» because of fear of the effort that it required or of what people would say? How many times have you given in because you felt unable to conquer a defect of character or a temptation? You know, nothing is resolved by weeping, but by persisting, making an effort, and clinging to God, who gives us the victories.