Being Stubborn Is Necessary

                 Ed, my neighbor next door, is off at his family’s place in Edmonton. Ruby, his wife, says that it is her winter mental health break. Since Ed is so bored with winter, Ruby talked him into a trip to his cousins at Edmonton. A week or two there gets Ed settled down. Ed hates driving in Edmonton’s busy traffic. He is forced to pay attention. Being in West Edmonton Mall, where no one knows his name, gets him frustrated. In Melville, Ed can always find someone to talk to, but in Edmonton, no one seems to care about who you are. Ed always says, “Big cities like Edmonton are full of people who don’t know each other and they like it fine that way.”

                After a week or two in Edmonton, Ed comes back with a new appreciation of Melville. Often, the winter is just as bad or worse there. Ed’s cousins get their exercise in a community pool. Appearing ivory white in a bathing suit and flopping around a pool in the kids’ end is not what Ed wants to do. His cousins walk at malls most days to keep fit and do a little card playing. Ed knows they have a little card playing and lots of walking backwards, but they fanatically keep walking. He watches them walk while he drinks coffee and eats doughnuts, but no one will talk to him so it’s lonely. Ed does like to know his cousins aren’t having any more winter fun than him. Ed says, “winter hammers on and on in Edmonton as well as Melville.”

                Winter makes everything more challenging and a person just has to become as stubborn as the long winter weather. The other day I had to remove the back seats from my van. Three of the seats slid out just like they are supposed to do, but one was uncooperative like a mule. It was so bad that I went to the glove compartment, got the manual, and read it about four times. In desperation, I sprayed with WD-40. That unyielding seat finally had enough and slid out of there like there had never been a problem. Stubborn situations need to be fought with stubborn effort, like a “tooth for a tooth or an eye for an eye.”

                Life has a way of hammering on every season and sometimes it seems we are not stubborn enough to meet it. Sometimes, the weather won’t budge in our favor. Sometimes, it’s a health problem. Sometimes, it’s the death of a loved one or we are stuck with too little money and it seems hopeless. That is the time to stubbornly trust God most, for God alone has the power to lubricate, penetrate, budge and release situations in our favor.

                Jesus told a parable about the need for us to pray and not give up. I call it, “being stubborn in prayer.” In the parable, a widow kept coming to a judge with a plea that the judge would grant her justice from her enemy. For a time the judge refused, but because the widow kept bothering him, he gave her justice. Jesus reminds us that God will see that we get help as we stubbornly pray and not give up.

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