The other day I was looking at that word and saw clearly the other word just within it: persevere. This was just after I read an article on some of the positive character traits people with autism possess (such as an inability to lie, or a lack of materialistic attitude). I realized that they should have added perseverance to the list. A person with autism will get an idea into his head and remain laser focused on doing whatever it takes to accomplish it. (Of course, the idea could quite possibly be finding a certain hidden food or toy, or figuring out a way to sneak outside, but let's let that rest for a minute). Someone with ASD will grasp onto an issue -- a request, let's say, and not take "no" for an answer. They cannot be deterred. They must get the desired result, and they will continue to talk about it, ask for it, demand it, until the request appears. It's funny, but when I think about this the first thing that comes to mind is the story in Luke, often called the parable of the persistent widow:
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Jesus told them the story so that they "should always pray and not give up." Yet often we can be so easily discouraged away from prayer, from faith and trust. We don't see a result...or see what seems to be doors slammed in our faces...and quickly walk away, our tails hanging between our legs, defeated. If only I could have an ounce of that autism gumption, that doggedness, when it comes to spiritual things!
The judge said, "Because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice." Perseverance brings about results. Kind of like the cookie you break down and give your child (with ASD or otherwise!) who just won't stop asking.
God, help me to perseverate, when it comes to prayer and keeping the faith. Help me to learn to keep on asking and not give up.