– Zig Ziglar
If we fail to try anything, we’ll fail at everything. In other words, if we don’t even try, we’re already defeated before we start. What we learn from defeat is useful because it shows us what doesn’t work, and we can try something different. Of course, we must be constant in prayer and ask God to show us our errors. So don’t give up after defeat. Defeat just shows us what doesn’t work so that we’ll find what does.
Every road in life has an occasional detour, but these detours end up helping us. What if someone failed to put up a detour sign and we ended up driving off the road? If we ignore those detours, we could end up hurting ourselves. Detours show us the way is not safe for us and our families and that we’d be better off turning around and going the other way. Don’t let detours keep you from the path that God intends you to take, even if it’s going back the way you came.
The Parable of the Persistent Widow is a lesson for us all to not give up when faced with defeat (Luke 18:1-8). The poor widow had no influence in that society, perhaps much like today. Yet time after time, she came before a judge who refused to hear her case. If the widow had given up, she wouldn’t have ever heard the judge say, “Yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming” (Luke 18:5). Maybe it only takes one last effort for you to have victory, victory over that besetting sin in your life. You could be one last prayer request away from hearing God’s answer. “One more time” could be all it takes. If not, be as the persistent widow was and never give up.
Jesus told His disciples, “A parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). There are two things to unpack with this verse. We ought to always pray and not give up–how true that is. We should not lose heart in our persistent prayers in praying for the defeat to point the way, understanding God’s sovereignty to place detours for our own good (Romans 8:28); and we should pray these prayers with persistence because, as the late Zig Ziglar said, “If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.”