Why should we always pray and not give up?
Jesus tells this parable right after several parables on the “coming” Kingdom of God. At first glance, there is much about this parable that is difficult to understand: Why is God compared to an unjust judge? What does the final sentence mean? How does this fit into Lent?
I am reminded of the psalms of lament, where the authors cry out to God for justice. Where was God? Did he not hear their cries? Didn’t God care?
For example, from Psalm 143:
Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy
in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.
Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
The persistent widow in our passage today is like the psalmist: she believes she is in the right, and that justice will ultimately prevail, but in the meantime, she suffers while her enemies prosper. Why does she persist? I believe her confident hope that God is both good and powerful gives her the patience and perseverance to keep at it.
The wicked judge finally gives her justice so she will stop “bothering” him. Therefore, how much more will our heavenly Father answer our prayers? But we also need to learn to persist, in confident hope. As we prepare for Good Friday and Easter, we should ask ourselves, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find us full of faith?”
Prayer: God, please give us both patience and hope,
so that we may persist in prayer.
“May your kingdom come and your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.”
Lenten Reader 2018
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