Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I 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)
A judge is appointed to uphold what’s right and deal with what’s wrong but this judge had no integrity. He neither had respect for people nor cared about what they thought. And God was not in his reckoning.
The widow had a very low status in that society. Without a husband she had no advocate and was vulnerable. To the judge she was a person of no consequence; he reckoned her case was not worth his time.
How could she get him to move on her behalf – even to take notice of her? Well, she just kept on coming to him, pleading her case for justice against her adversary. She became such a nuisance to him that he had to do something about it. Do we ever feel God doesn’t care about what’s going on, that we can’t get God to act and intervene in a situation?
Jesus is telling this story because he wants to encourage His disciples to pray and not to give up. Could Jesus even be hinting at being a sort of “holy nuisance!” in our praying? But what he says next suggests not. Jesus teaches that in no way is God like this unjust judge! 1Peter 2:23 reminds us that when Jesus suffered he “entrusted himself to Him who judges justly”. His Father, who is the true “Judge of all the earth” (Genesis 18:25), will not keep putting off his chosen ones who cry out to Him day and night. Jesus, who has come from the Father, is telling us this so we will not become discouraged about praying. This is His Father’s message.
Jesus says our Father is listening to us! Sometimes we may feel as though He is slow to respond but He wants us to know He is not dragging His feet; He will not fob us off. God will bring about justice and Jesus says He will do it quickly.
So, take heart, be encouraged. God, the Father to whom we pray, wants us to know this: He knows we grow weary and He says, “Do not lose heart!”
“Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NRSV)
Father, thank You Jesus gave us this story. It gives me so much hope that my prayers matter. I am really heartened that You want me to keep on coming to You. I trust You with everything I bring and believe You will see that justice is done. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.