4"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' "
6And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:1-8, NIV)
- This parable is first and foremost about the importance of persistent prayer. Luke says that Jesus' parable was told in order to show people "that they should always pray and not give up." What an encouragement at this time when Kim and I might be tempted to be discouraged about how long is has taken for the judge in Brazil to rule on our petition! Jesus' words remind me that, however I may be feeling about the situation, God still wants me to pray about it, over and over if necessary. And unlike the judge who gets fed up with the persistence of the widow, God never tires of our approaching him with our petitions and prayers.
- Parables are always interesting to look at because they teach a spiritual truth while telling an interesting story. And this story just so happens to be about a woman and a judge, which seems to make sense given our current situation! Though the widow in the story is seeking justice against her adversary and Kim and I are seeking a family, both of us have petitioned the court for something, and both of us have to wait upon that court for an answer.
- Though I am not at all suggesting that, as in the parable, our judge in Brazil doesn't "fear God or care about men," or that she is "unjust," the widow's persistence spoke to me. It was interesting that justice was granted for a seemingly selfish reason on the part of the judge: so that the widow wouldn't "wear [him] out with her coming." As we were putting together the package of information for her this weekend, I kept hoping that the answers we provided and letters we gathered would overwhelm the judge so much that she would see how much we love these children already and how much support we have from our family and friends, and that she would grant our petition. I hoped that she would see that we were willing, like the widow in the parable, to continue to wait upon her and petition her until we received an answer.
- At the end of the parable, Jesus brings it back to God and prayer: "will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?" This statement about God's answering our prayers is in contrast to the act of justice granted by the judge in the parable. God listens to our prayers and grants our petitions out of love and grace, not out of exasperation of us approaching Him! But even in the context of the parable, I like to think about the way God might be working in our own situation. In the parable, God uses an "unjust" judge "who doesn't fear God or care about men" to do His will, namely provide justice for the widow. I am encouraged that God can use the actions of our judge in Brazil to carry out His will, regardless of whether she is a Christian or not (even though I pray she is!), and even regardless of whether she is sympathetic to our case (even though I hope she is!). Our persistent prayer is that God's will be that we are united with these children and that His hand move through the judge to make it so.
- This parable, as is so often, ends with a zinger, cutting close to the heart, piercing like an arrow! "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Whoa! This reminds me how important it is to continue to have faith and be persistent in prayer. We can say how much we believe that God listens to our persistent prayers, but if we don't persistently pray, we're not really practicing what we're preaching! (God help me to be persistent in my prayers and petitions to You!)