God wants to make sure your heart is set on persevering, no matter how long His answer takes. Jesus gave us a parable to prove that He waits on us to determine not to give up. It is the parable of the distressed widow who kept coming to the judge and requesting justice (see Luke 18:2-8). The judge finally granted the widow’s request only because he did not want to be worn down by her constant pleading. "Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me" (verse 5). Jesus added, "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily" (verses 7-8).

You say, “But doesn't Jesus seem to be speaking a paradox in this passage? First He says God ‘bears long with us’ and then He says He ‘will avenge us speedily.’”

Most of us misinterpret the passage completely. Jesus isn't speaking of delaying a long time—not at all! He says God wants to speedily answer us but God is "bearing something" that calls for patience on His part. He is saying, “I will put up with this thing I see in your heart. I will bear with you until you are willing to lay hold as you should for the answer.”

As I look back at some of the things I have persevered in prayer for, I see the Lord saying, "I'm holding up the request to you, like a mirror. And through this, I am going to show you what is deep in your heart."

I have seen doubt . . . fear . . . unbelief . . . things that have made me throw myself at Jesus' feet and cry, "Oh, Lord, I'm not interested in the answers anymore, but only in getting this spirit out of me. I don't want to doubt You."

The hardest part of faith is the last half hour. When it looks as if God will not answer, we give up and go on to something else. We think we are surrendering to God's providence, depending on His sovereign will. We say, "Well, God, You must not have wanted it after all."

No! That is not what God intended. When you are praying the obvious will of God—salvation of family, for instance—you have every right to hold on and never give up until Jesus answers.