Monday, October 5, 2015
Thinking About Giving Up?
Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4 For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8 I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
This parable of a persistent widow provides us with a glimpse into God’s desire for his people. God is not the unjust judge. This judge is presented in complete contrast to God. The unjust judge was probably waiting around for a bribe. The poor widow had no money, nor anything else to provide as a bribe. While this may have been the case, she refused to give up. She kept coming before him, pleading for justice. Because of her persistence, he finally gave in to her request.
But God is nothing like this judge. God does not need to be bribed, nor does he need us to plead with him over and over again for something. Instead, he invites us to “cry to him day and night” as an attitude of continual prayer. It is an attitude, or a mind-set of on-going and continual focus on God. It is in this attitude that we can bring to God our requests, but not as the persistent widow had to with the unjust judge, but rather bringing and leaving our needs with him as they occur.
As we wait for the Son of Man to return, we remain in this attitude of prayer. We are to be persistent in our attitude and faith, not losing heart through times of difficulty. God cares and he listens. We are charged to not give up!
I’m afraid that too often we have come to think of God as behaving like the unjust judge. We think that we have to weep and wail before God for him to hear our prayers and petitions. If that’s the case then we have misunderstood the parable. We are not to give up hope, nor are we to give up on living in a spirit and attitude of prayer.
Persistence in prayer is not persistence in pleading, but living in an on-going relationship with God. It is this personal relationship where you are able to bring your thoughts, needs, requests continually before the Lord.
I live day in and day out with my husband and chat about everything that’s gone on in the day. Yesterday we were having a group of students over to our home and I was cleaning up in the kitchen. I thought I smelled the garbage and asked him if he would take it out. He asked me, “what garbage?” I told him — the garbage in the bin in the kitchen. He asked me to point it out to him so I opened the drawer and there was an empty garbage bin with a clean liner bag. He had removed the garbage without even asking, because he knew what we were doing that day — and the smell, it was the salad that I hadn’t put away yet that was sitting on the counter. I didn’t have to hound my husband about the garbage because he knew what I needed. (And he smirked because he was right!)
God doesn’t have to be hounded about your needs, but just like my husband likes me to talk to him and tell him what’s going on in my life, so does God. My husband took care of my need before I even asked because he knew what was happening yesterday. God takes care of our needs when he knows what’s going on in our lives. We are to trust God completely, not pleading, but simply remaining in relationship with him and never giving up.
Lord, thank you for your love and desire to fellowship with me every day. Amen.
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