Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 ESV
At twenty-five years old, I had a stomach ulcer from the unbearable stress of my job.
I had found a laboratory who would hire an inexperienced college graduate with a B.S. in biology. The VA hospital needed a histology technician, and they would train me to do the job.
Histologists make slides from the tissue removed from the body during surgery, which pathologists review to make a diagnosis for the patient.
My lab consisted of my supervisor and one other histology lab tech—I was the youngest. Both women had been working in this lab for years. I came in excited to learn. But I didn’t realize that I would learn more than histology…
God was about to throw me into the middle of a spiritual battle.
My supervisor, a Jamaican woman fond of talking about curses and voodoo dolls, did not like me from day one. I believed her goal was to make my life and job miserable.
She began by criticizing my work clothes, the way I styled my hair, and wearing my contact lenses. She demanded I pulled back my hair and wear glasses. Good thing I wasn’t there to find a boyfriend… it would’ve never happened. Although she thought I flirted with all the doctors who came into our lab because I acknowledged their presence.
It got worse. She didn’t allow me to take some of my breaks and if she decided she wanted me back in the lab before lunch was over, she would stage a mysterious phone call from a family member, who hung up before I got to the phone…
My supervisor criticized my work in every way and at times compared it to that of a five-year-old. Equipment from my locker disappeared after she watched me stow it away for the night. She even called my house to see if I was sick after I had called off.
I cried to the Lord every single day. I was too demoralized by her to complain and fear and intimidation held me hostage.
Even though it seemed like discouragement and hopelessness were my constant companions, I sensed God’s presence. He met with me each morning as I worshipped and poured out my heart to Him; He filled my soul. I grew in faith and dependence on my Savior.
However, the more I matured in my faith, the worse the harassment got.
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6 ESV
After a year, I interviewed for a job on another floor of the hospital. They offered me the position, but I knew the Lord did not want me to take that job. As I turned it down, God gave me immediate peace.
Once I had endured that job for two years, the head lab manager gave me a significant pay raise and promotion because of my degree and two years on the job. My supervisor, who had no control over this, was furious. She increased the attacks, wanting to prove I was undeserving of this promotion.
I begged God to let me leave; He did.
During those two years, the Lord surrounded me with praying friends and mentors who taught me how to pray against the spiritual darkness I faced. I had faith the Lord was with me.
After I quit, the Lord had an incredible job waiting for me in cancer research. They were looking for a histologist with two years of lab experience!
If I had taken my eyes off Jesus and surrendered to the hopelessness of my circumstances, I would have missed out on a job I loved.
No matter what situation you may find yourself in today, whether a bad relationship, a difficult job, or a health problem, don’t give up. Keep your eyes on Jesus and hold on to your faith.
He has you in the palm of His hand. He will never leave you or forsake you.
In what way is the Lord teaching you to trust Him?
A knock on his door woke him.
As he got up to answer it, he realized how late it was. “Who could be here at midnight?” he thought. As he opened the door, there stood a friend who had traveled a long way and was both tired and hungry. Realizing he had nothing in his house to feed his friend, he hurried to his neighbor.
As he pounded on their door, the man shouted he had company who just arrived, and he had nothing to feed him. The neighbor called out, “Leave me alone, I’m in bed!” The man who had company did not give up. He continued to shout his need until his neighbor gave him what he wanted.
Before Jesus taught this parable in Luke 11:5-8, he taught the Lord’s Prayer. With that prayer, He showed us the way to pray. However, the parable explains how we are to pray. It’s not just the words we use, but the persistence we show.
In Luke 11:8 (ESV), Jesus said about the neighbor who didn’t want to get out of bed, “I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence (or persistence) he will rise and give him whatever he needs.” What does this mean? The neighbor didn’t get up because his friend asked him for food; he got up because he knew his neighbor was not going away until he got what he needed.
The Hebrew equivalent of the word impudence is chutzpah and it means brazen tenacity. We can better understand this if we know the meaning of these two words, too. The word brazen means to be bold and without shame and tenacity means to have determination. 
Is this how you pray? I honestly can’t say it describes all my prayers. In some rabbinical (Jewish) literature, they describe Moses’ intercession for the children of Israel as if he took hold of God’s garment and pleaded with Him to pardon them.  This is chutzpah. This is what Jesus taught.
In Luke 8:43-48, Scripture tells us about a woman who knew Jesus could heal her of a bleeding disorder if she could only touch His garment. There was a great crowd around Jesus; people were pressing up against Him making it almost impossible to get close.
Yet, her brazen tenacity didn’t let a crowd stop her from getting to the feet of Jesus. When she touched his garment, Jesus knew power had gone from of Him. After the woman came to Him and told Him why she touched Him, Jesus said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
The blind beggar in Luke 18:35-43 didn’t stop yelling for Jesus to have mercy on him even though people told him to be quiet. When Jesus asked him what he wanted, he replied, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” Jesus said, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” The beggar had brazen tenacity. He would not be silent, so Jesus stopped to talk to him.
Like them, our brazen tenacity evidences our faith. There are stories throughout the Gospels about people who did not take “no” for an answer by pushing past boundaries to get to Jesus. These were only a few stories in which Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.”
What about the times our faith and tenacity don’t get our prayer answered in the way we hope? We all know someone who didn’t get healed or lost a child or spouse from a terrible disease. Or maybe it’s you whose prayer has not been answered. Does Jesus love us less? Did He not hear our cries in the dark or at the altar? We don’t always know why we get a “no” or “wait” from our Lord.
In her book, To Live is Christ, Beth Moore explained that in the Bible Jesus healed for two reasons. One was to prove His authenticity. He was and is the Son of God. The second reason He healed was when natural methods were not possible. 
The healing or the suffering? God knows which one it is. He doesn’t want us to suffer, but if our suffering takes us deeper into our relationship with Him, then it’s worth it. He knows our ultimate healing is in Heaven. But that does not mean we pray with any less brazen tenacity. Like the man who needed food from his neighbor, keep pounding on Heaven’s door.
Is there anything you have not asked the Lord because you thought it wasn’t worthy or because you felt embarrassed by it? In the verses which follow the parable in Luke 11:9 (ESV), Jesus said,
“Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.”
Jesus doesn’t want us to stop asking, seeking or knocking. Approach His throne boldly knowing He hears you and He loves you. Never give up. Pray boldly with shameless determination.
 Google.com, https://www.google.com/search?q=brazen+definition&rlz=1C1CAFA_enUS630US711&oq=brazen&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l5.4848j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
 Google.com, https://www.google.com/search?q=brazen+definition&rlz=1C1CAFA_enUS630US711&oq=brazen&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l5.4848j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#dobs=tenacity
 Young, Brad H., The Parables, Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation, Baker Academic 1998, pg. 63
 Moore, Beth, To Live is Christ, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN, 2001. Pg. 77.
I was the fifth child of seven born to my parents. I was the fourth of six girls. Here’s where most people say, “Your poor father!”
My parents had a significant age gap between them; my dad was fifty-years-old when I was born. By the time I was two months old, my brother died from medical complications from a condition he was born with. He was ten.
Before my fifth birthday, my family moved from the suburbs to a large farm in southwest Ohio. My parents loved the country and the spacious property gave our large family room to grow and play. By my sixth birthday, my dad suffered a massive stroke which left him paralyzed on his right side. All his dreams for that property died. Even at six, I knew my life would be different.
I was a daddy’s girl. He held me on his lap when the doctor gave my vaccines with a gun-like device that left a scar the size of a dime on your upper arm. (I think that’s why we called them “shots.”). My father taught me to ride my bike on the sidewalks of our suburban home and brought us donuts he made before leaving work as an executive chef.
Everything seemed to have changed. His personality and his body were different—broken.
The farmer, my parents bought our home from bought it back and let us live in the house for $100 a month until my parents got back on their feet. We lived there until I was twenty-one. I hated leaving that place when the next landlord gave our home to his newly married son.
My mom and the six of us girls did everything. We did the housework and the yard work. My dad sat on the porch watching us cut the grass with a push mower fearing we would get hurt. When we complained about cutting the grass or working in the garden, he would just say, “I know, I wish I could do it.” I now understand as an adult how much it hurt him to have to watch his daughters do “his” work.
He struggled with depression and feelings of uselessness.
I am unaware of my dad’s spiritual life before his stroke, but I know after his stroke his life changed spiritually.
He prayed constantly; not for himself, but for his family. My dad prayed for strength and comfort for my mom, who had to work long and hard hours to support the family. He prayed for each of us girls to know God as he did. Our salvation was the most important thing to him. Dad read the Bible to us every day at dinner and prayed over us before bed as we knelt by his chair so he could put his hand on our heads.
In Hebrews 11, the author shares the faith of many Old Testament saints. These men were righteous in God’s sight because of their faith and obedience in times of trials and persecution.
Hebrews 11:13 (ESV) says, “These all died in faith, not receiving the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Hebrews 11:38 says of these men,”…of whom the world was not worthy.”
They lived and died for their God.
The verse that overwhelmed me was Hebrews 11:16b, “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God…” This verse is not in past-tense. It is in the present tense. Why? Because God was not ashamed then, and He is unashamed to be their God now.
No matter how we see ourselves, or how useless we may feel in our jobs or as a stay-at-home mom, or how many times we have messed up and felt as though we have let God and others down; if you belong to Him, He is not ashamed to be called your God. He has a better place prepared for you.
My dad felt useless in his body, but in his spirit, he was full of the life that comes from the Son of God. We may never know on this side of Heaven the impact we have on others. But, God does.
My dad did not realize the influence he had on his six girls. Even from his wheelchair, he spoke life over us and planted seeds for an eternal purpose.
If you do not have someone like this in your family, then be that person to someone else. Your eternal reward is priceless.
My dad died one month after I married twenty-seven years ago. I am thankful God allowed him to “walk” me down the aisle. He was a good man and a great father. I thank God he is whole again.
What’s your story? I would love to hear about it.