WE need to understand that there are times that we need to persist in bothering God for some extraordinary interventions in our lives. To be sure, God knows all our needs, even before we get to realize them or to express them. But there are times when God wants us to strengthen our faith by going to the extent of nagging him with our petitions if only to have his power and compassion shown on us.

This was shown, for example, in that story of Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, who went to the temple to importune the Lord to give her a male child. (cfr. 1 Samuel 1,9-20) This was also shown in that parable of the persistent widow who did not tire to ask the judge to give her justice even if at the beginning she was rejected. (cfr. Lk 18,1-8).

When these times come, we should not worry much. Rather, we should welcome them since we are actually given a chance to strengthen our faith, the first step that would lead us to be united with God and to share in his life, nature and power.

We have to understand that Christian life, while it can be hard and very challenging, since it demands from us everything, is also very easy, because God in Christ has already given us everything that we need to achieve our true and ultimate purpose in life.

Obviously, we would not be exempted from suffering as we have to face all sorts of difficulties, challenges and trials in this life. But if our faith is strong and abiding, we know that all these hardships will always work out for the good. (cfr. Rom 8,28) Christ has converted all the possible negative things in our earthly life as an occasion and means for our salvation which is what truly matters in our life.

We should just develop a healthy sporting spirit because life’s true failure can come only when we choose not to have faith that always engenders hope. That happens when our vision and understanding of things is narrow and limited, confined only to the here and now and ignorant of the transcendent reality of the spiritual and supernatural world.

Besides, life involves a till-death struggle against all sorts of enemies, starting with our own treacherous self, the ever-seductive world, and worst of all, the spiritual enemies who certainly are more powerful than us.

Finally, life involves pursuing a goal that is much greater, yes, infinitely greater than ourselves. We should not be a bad sport who gives up easily without even trying, or who surrenders in the middle of an exciting and suspenseful game.

We therefore have to develop a strong spiritual sportsmanship in the tenor expressed in some words of St. Paul: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” (1 Cor 9,24).

Aside from a strong sense of self-discipline and submitting ourselves in a continuing training program, an indispensable ingredient of this healthy sporting spirit is the sense of acceptance and abandonment that we need to deliberately cultivate. This does not come automatically, as if it’s part of our genes. We have to develop them.

As we can see, if we follow by our Christian faith, our life, while having all sorts of challenges and difficulties, can actually be easy. Christ himself said as much. “My yoke is easy and my burden light.” (Mt 11,30).