NOTE: No audio was recorded for this sermon.
I met Cora in 1983, in Kansas City, Missouri. It was my first church. Cora was 85. Her husband had died about ten years before that. Cora was a kind and gracious Christian woman. She shared with me that for most of her marriage, her husband struggled with alcoholism. He was not an angry or abusive alcoholic. But it did interfere with the lives. The alcohol abuse was a huge roadblock to the fullness of his relationship with his wife and child. But Cora prayed regularly for her husband. She prayed for him to quit drinking. She prayed for him to give his life to Christ. And then, after all those years, at the age of 60 Cora's husband quit drinking and gave his life to Christ. After that, they had 15 wonderful years together.
That is what tenacity looks like. What if Cora had given up on prayer? What if she had given up on her husband? Miracles happen all around us.
A man sits quietly in a Bible study class. The subject is miracles. Some in the class are skeptical about the stories of miracles in the Bible. Others doubt miracles still happen. Finally, he tells his story. "When I was a kid growing up, my dad was an alcoholic. A mean one. He didn't physically abuse us, but there was a lot of anger and he bounced from one job to another. He drank away a lot of his paycheck, so we struggled financially. Then, one day, he started going to AA. He finally could hold down a job. He began living a faithful Christian life. You say you're skeptical about miracles? Not me. I saw a miracle. When he healed my dad, Jesus turned wine into furniture for our house and food on the table and happiness for my mom."
These are the miracles.
Here's what we saw last week about the connection between tenacity and miracles.
A miracle isn't going to happen in an instant. There's no magic pill or rainbow wishes that are going to bring a miracle. It takes tenacity to have faith when you don't feel like having faith. It takes tenacity to choose to love when you don't feel very loving. It takes tenacity to choose to believe when you don't feel like believing anymore. However hesitant the steps, the journey of tenacity gets you to a closer picture of a miracle.
I think, for most of us, tenacity is pressing on. Tenacity is the difference between in spite of and because of. The tenacious person says, "I can do this in spite of" rather than "I can't do this because of." Tenacity is not you standing on the mountain top screaming your lungs out in a cry of victory. Tenacity is you hanging on to the last thread of faith, the last thread of hope that you have and not giving up. Tenacity is not being perfect in every step in every way. Tenacity is you coming back to faith again and again and again.
Don't ever think you don't or can