Recently I saw a cute inspirational quote on Facebook (I know…shocker…) that said “Water cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” And though it captured my attention due to its pithy brevity, it captivated my meditation for the rest of the day because of its depth. In other words, it is getting at the timeless and profound truth that the biggest breakthroughs come more often from repetition and persistence than from innovative ideas.

And this principle is just as true in the spiritual realm as it is in the physical. Jesus said, “And he said to them, ‘Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him”; and he will answer from within, “Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything”? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened’” (Luke 11:5-10).

And so I tell you, my friend, that if you haven’t seen a breakthrough yet, do not be frustrated by the time required. You will see it if you don’t give up. But, you might be wondering, how do I keep my hope alive until it comes?

Allow me to remind you of 4 truths that can keep you going while you wait for your breakthrough:

  1. God sees you. He sees everything about your situation and he is fully aware. He hasn’t turned away or focused his attention elsewhere. You are in the steady gaze of the God who sees. Scripture is full of promises that God’s ever-watchful eye is fixed on us. For example: “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). And again: “He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber…. The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (Psalm 121:3, 5-8).
  2. God understands you. He is intimately acquainted with the struggle you currently find yourself occupied with. He feels your pain. I love how the writer of Hebrews puts it: “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16). He gets it. He really does.
  3. God is with you. This means that all of the heavenly, eternal grace of the loving heart of God is surrounding you. Not only is his grace infusing your situation, but his presence is in every space and unexpected event that you can conjure up with the best resources of your imagination. King David prophetically spoke about the revealed omnipresence of God when he said, “The angel of the Lord [referring to the incarnate, Word-made-flesh, second person of the Trinity] encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7). God is here. God is now. And he is so to be with you.
  4. God is for you. You cannot seriously read through your Bible and ever leave with the impression that God is against, or even apathetic toward, his beloved children. In fact, the overwhelming message of the Bible shouts that God is passionately and eternally for people who could never repay his infinite generosity and love. One of the most foundational verses of the Bible essentially says that God SO LOVES people who are characterized by this broken, messed-up system of self-centeredness called “the world: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). If that is the case for people who were completely lost in their brokenness and selfishness before they were found by God, imagine how much more God is for those whom he has adopted, paid for, and redeemed! I love how the Apostle Paul said it: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long, we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31-39).

So don’t give up! Keep pressing into the calling God has given you. You may not have seen a breakthrough yet. But remember that “water cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” The biggest breakthroughs come more often from repetition and persistence than from new starts or innovative ideas.