Persistence Pays Off

"Persistence Pays Off" by Claire McGarry (

Photo by Christopher Bruno via (2003), CC0 Public Domain

Despite enrolling my son in just about every sport, club, and after-school activity I could find over the years, Zack just wasn’t interested in any of them. I began to worry. I didn’t want him just hanging around watching TV and playing video games. I desperately wanted to help him discover his passion so he could feel challenged and a part of something. Just like every other parent out there, I wanted him reaching his full potential.

When he was younger, I would sign him up for things, take him, and force him to participate. But as the years went by, and he developed a mind of his own, it got more challenging. That’s when the arguments started: me demanding he get involved in something, him putting his foot down and refusing.

It was wearing me down. It didn’t seem worth it anymore: throwing money out the window in enrollment fees, wasting time and energy dragging him around, the headaches from arguing and worrying, and most of all, Zack being miserable and distancing himself. It all seemed counterproductive. I was ready to play it Zack’s way and give up.

In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” 1 Samuel 16:10-11

You have to imagine Samuel felt the same way in 1 Samuel, Chapter 16. He followed God’s instructions and traveled to Bethlehem to anoint one of Jesse’s son’s. The problem was, God didn’t tell Samuel, up front, which son it was. Instead, Jesse paraded son after son before Samuel. Each time, Samuel thought, “This must be the one.”

Each time, the Lord said, “No.”

Seven times this happened. What an emotional roller coaster for Samuel, no different from the one I rode with my son: “Maybe this is the club Zack will love,” only to drive home frustrated.

Fortunately, Samuel didn’t give up. He kept looking. He asked Jesse if he had any more sons. Jesse did. But he’d been so sure his last son wasn’t worthy, he hadn’t included David in the meeting. In fact, he had David out in the field tending sheep.

We all know how it goes from there. Because Samuel persisted, David was brought before him. The Lord concurred that David was the Chosen One. Samuel anointed him, and David became king. Spectacular history was made.

That’s what God wants for all of us. He’s dreamed big dreams for each one of us; and He desperately wants us to fulfill them. But, like He did with Samuel, He doesn’t tell us, up front, what those dreams are. Instead, He leaves us to discover them on our own.

So we have to persist. Even when it looks like we’ve exhausted all our options, our David is still out in the field, waiting to be called forward. When we do search out the right dream, God will concur. Then we too will make spectacular history.

I got to witness this first hand, twice over. Despite wanting to give up the hunt for Zack’s passion, I just couldn’t. I’m his mom; I want what’s best for him.

Now, not only is he fully invested in Lego Robotics (and programmed a robot that took his team to the State Championships), but he’s just one belt away from getting his black belt in karate. Although the journey was challenging, it was definitely worth it in the end.

Whether it’s our own passion, or our children’s, we can’t give up the search. We have to keep looking. Otherwise, we rob the world of the gifts God wants to give through us.

Pray with me: Dear God, Dreamer of our dreams, inspire me to persist when my David is still out in the field. Grant me the resolve to seek out my passion, and those of my children, so we can make spectacular history for You.

Copyright 2018 Claire McGarry


About Author

Claire McGarry is the author of the Lenten devotional "With Our Savior," published by Creative Communications for the Family/Bayard, Inc. and All is Blessing: Finding God in the Tensions of Life, to be published by Our Sunday Visitor in the fall of 2021. Her freelance work has appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Focus on the Family magazine, Catechist magazine, These Days devotional, and Keys for Kids devotional. The founder of MOSAIC of Faith, a ministry with several different programs for mothers and children, she blogs at Shifting My Perspective.


  1. So happy you found the right thing that your son enjoys. It can be such a struggle, but in the end God leads us where we need to go if we are open to listening to Him. Thank you for this article!

    • You’re absolutely right, Jane! God does lead us where we need to go. Unfortunately, I sometimes move too fast to hear Him. I’m very grateful He spoke loud enough so I could hear Him lead me to my son’s passions. Thank you so much for reading, and commenting!

  2. What an amazing and inspiring post. Your son is blessed to have a mom that just wouldn’t give up. Thank you for sharing!!

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