“And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night to Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:7-8)
What’s the worst thing happening in your life right now?
It could be something personal and private, known only to you and perhaps one or two others. It could be relational tension in your marriage or between you and one of your children. It could be a season of major stress at work or at school. It could even be a health scare, a current threat on the world stage, or a particular worry about your kids or grandkids ….
It could be anything. The worst thing you can think of. And you do think of it — ten, twenty times throughout the day, if not all day. But how much longer have you been thinking about it than praying about it?
The widow in Jesus’ parable from Luke 18 represented someone enduring one of the worst crises imaginable. Like every widow, her husband’s death was a problem entirely outside her control. Furthermore (as you yourself might attest, if you’ve ever dealt with being wronged, abused, neglected, or betrayed), her experience of injustice was among the hardest things anyone ever faces. And to top it all off, the judge in her town — the only one capable of helping her — was absolutely disinterested and unmotivated to do anything at all about it ….
She was on her own. With no avenue for appeal. Without a prayer …. Yet, she kept on coming …..
And by way of her fictional story, God gives us all the reason we need for persisting in prayer ourselves. For if the epitome of a cruel, unjust, atheistic, self-centered government official — “a judge who neither feared God nor respected man” (Luke 18:2)—could be moved to action on this widow’s behalf, why would our Father not be moved to bless and assist His children? “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). After already giving us His best, what would possibly prevent Him from giving us the rest?
To not persist in prayer, then, boils down to a failure to understand the character of God. Because anyone who knows the Father’s heart, or what the Son has given, or who follows the guidance of the Holy Ghost will realize what’s available to us through the vehicle of prayer. His own known character is proof enough ….
God is just, bringing justice to His people. God is good, acting on our behalf. God is attentive, always hearing the persistent prayers of those who come to Him with clean hands and a pure heart. God is holy, faithful to work on those parts of us that keep us from experiencing freedom and hopeful confidence, even as He responds to our prayers with compassion, grace, and power ….
Many lean on the crutch of addiction instead of trusting God’s heart for what they need. Some depend on a drug prescription to assuage what persistent prayer could resolve. Others continue nursing the wounds of their past because they don’t believe God is either willing or able to fill the emotional holes they feel they’ve been left to compensate for ….
But even if you think you’re watching the worst-of-the-worst unfold — even if it looks like it’s as bad as it can get, with the hope of relief seeming to be an impossible dream — trust the heart of God to prove your fears and discouragements wrong. And to prove Himself just and strong. He is able and He is faithful ….
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named; that He would grant you, according to His riches in glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Lord, You are good and You are faithful. You are Omnipotent and the fount of all wisdom. You are merciful and gracious; compassionate and kind. You are diametrically opposed to sin, yet, tenderly inclined to lift up the worst of sinners. I come to You today, humbled and worshipping You, remembering who You are, who You’ve been, and who You will still prove to my heart that You are day by day as I trust and pray to You. Guide me by this power of the indwelt Holy Ghost that I may rise above my circumstances and gain victory over those things that would seek to defeat me. In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray, and I thank You, Amen ….