Even when you do not think so…he does.
Jesus, not another like him, number twenty.
Who was your favorite teacher in grade school, middle school or high school? Hmmm, kinda fun to think about. Good teachers impact us and imprint something of themselves on us. While Jesus was certainly a miracle worker, he was also the greatest teacher ever. He was clever, poignant, sometimes funny, creative, and always impactful. One strategy Jesus used when teaching was the parable, a spiritual truth or principle expressed in an allegorical short story relatable to his audience.
There is a parable in Luke 18 that really speaks to me . . . I find such hope in it and I pray you will too. Jesus told the story of a widow who kept coming to the local judge for justice. The judge said of himself that he did not fear God or care what people thought of him.1 Huh, okay then. Our widow’s need? ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ Clearly, she had been injured, but we do not know the ‘who’ of it. This happens in life, doesn’t it? A spouse leaves a marriage, decimating everything once held sacred, the former mate financially devastated too. No justice in that. The one left behind wonders if matters will be set aright, about fairness and happiness. . . oh, and if when God said, ‘Vengeance is mine--I will repay’2 - he really meant it.
In the story, the judge tires of her unrelenting requests and grants her justice.
Jesus uses this story about the persistent widow to illustrate to the disciples the power and promise of persistence in prayer. God responds to the one who does not stop praying, something demonstrated throughout the Bible.
Matthew recorded a slightly expanded take on prayer as Jesus pointed out that if we parents know how to give our children good gifts, how much more does our loving Heavenly Father! As a tenacious child keeps asking, so we are to keep on asking God.3 I know - I get it…the rub is in the wait. We have become accustomed to almost instant gratification - and when we can’t get things when we want or as we want them, we are likely to give up or grow bitter, especially if God does not seem to be hearing us. But Jesus said Keep asking, Keep seeking, Keep knocking!
Several years ago, I read a book that helped me see that prayer is a truly generous gift from a loving God. It is not a chore or a task to be scratched off our proverbial to do list; rather it is a divine encounter with a living, all-powerful, benevolent God. The Circlemaker also inspired me to step a little closer to the persistent widow; honestly, I became a wannabe. The author, Mark Batterson, lit a fire in me to keep on carrying my requests to God in prayer, and like our widow, not grow weary of asking God to come and do what only he can do!
Have any prayers that have gone unanswered? ‘Loved ones who have not yet understood the goodness of God toward them and the difference he could make in their lives? I know that makes for heartache, oh believe me, I do! Do not give up on them. Carry them to Jesus again and again. Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.4
There is a lot to unfold in the future of things eternal, things in the heavenlies, somewhat mysterious as described in the book of Revelation. But one thing is very clear and tells me so much about prayer and the heart of God--the prayers of God’s people are saved in golden bowls.5 So pray. From your heart, give God your cares, tell him your needs, your heartaches, your doubts, and of course, express your gratitude. He waits for you as he longs to hear from you. How I love that about him!
Even when you do not think so . . . he does. God hears, God sees and he never forgets. What’s more - He will answer.
Talk to your Father,
1 - Luke 18.4
2 - Romans 12.19
3 - Matthew 7.7-11
4 - Hebrews 12.1
5 - Revelation 5.8