By Virginia Brandt Berg
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“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”1 That’s a wonderful scripture! It’s one of my favorites. You have need of patience that, after you’ve done the will of God, you might receive the promise. You will receive it.
“Now the just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”2
I want to call your attention especially to those words that you are not to “cast away your confidence.” It does have great recompense of reward, because God will not fail. He cannot fail, if you keep confidence and don’t just throw it away. Just think of one giving up and throwing away their confidence just as God is getting ready to answer prayer!
You search the written Word of God and you’ll find so many times that He mentions this word “confidence.” I’ve been amazed at how many times it is in God’s Word.
Someone wrote recently, saying, “Prayer didn’t change things for me. I tried it a few times, but I gave up before very long.” Later I learned that this one didn’t give God very much time. From what she told me afterwards she didn’t hold on even for a little while. She just threw away her confidence when the answer didn’t come right away.
When I think of those who held on for so many years! I heard the most wonderful testimony of a man that had been a convict for years. It’s an amazing story of the grace of God—30 years a drug addict, 17 years in prison, 3½ years in solitary confinement. Now he is preaching and he is so filled with the Spirit of the Lord. He’s doing a wonderful work and is absolutely healed from that habit and delivered from the life of sin, and is being used of God.
His little wife testified and she said, “You know, for years and years I held on.” Just think of holding on for 30 years! She said, “I didn’t know just how long it would take God to work this in his life, but I was content to believe and wait, and I knew that God would answer prayer. There were many years that tried my soul, and I sometimes questioned why God didn’t answer sooner, but I made up my mind I was going to hold on till the answer came.” He has written a book along this line, and I read those words from that book of how this little woman held on.
Are you holding on for someone? Is there a loved one that hasn’t yielded? “All during his years in prison,” she said, “I prayed for him and held him up, taught my children to respect him, and I knew God would meet us.” Well, it does take time. It takes time for God to do many things.
I said to you once that it took time for God to grow an oak and even to make a rose, and this is certainly true regarding prayer. There are many reasons why prayer cannot be immediately answered. I know it’s hard to understand—someday we will!
This I do certainly know: Many times prayer would have been answered if you had done like this little woman did, just persevered and not “thrown away your confidence.” If you had not let discouragement make you give up before you had prayed through to victory, you would be living in joy of that answer today.
It isn’t that God has refused, but we give up before the answer comes. As A. B. Simpson said, “There is a fixed determination in real faith that stands the test of waiting.” There are those like Jacob of old who say, “I will not let thee go except thou dost bless me.”3 And they just get down to wrestling in prayer and search their heart to see if they are meeting God’s conditions so they can get the answer.
They search His written Word until faith is strengthened. They hold on and press on with dogged determination and won’t be denied regardless of what the obstacles are. They don’t heed discouragement or weariness, but they just fight on, and they have that confidence that God is going to meet them.
It is this holding on, beloved, and not throwing away your confidence that makes the difference in how some get the answers and some do not. It is this spirit of great confidence that God will meet us if we will believe Him and trust and just fight on regardless of appearances or the discouraging voices about us.
It isn’t that their battle was any less severe than ours, but they just wouldn’t stop fighting. They just would not give up. The Duke of Wellington, who conquered Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, said that it wasn’t that the British soldiers were braver than the French soldiers, but they just wouldn’t give up; they fought on. The victory was determined by that holding on and holding on.
Anything wonderful can happen in that little margin of time when you do not give up but keep on believing and keep on praying. God answers prayer. God hears. And it might be that little time that you hold on that will be just the time when God will meet you.
“Throw not away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.”4
From a transcript of a Meditation Moments broadcast, adapted. Published on Anchor June 2016. Read by Carol Andrews.