During our worship service last Sunday, we read the parable of the Persistent Widow and the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8, check it out it’s a good read), and the synopsis of the story is this: a widow comes to a judge’s house and bangs on his door demanding justice for her cause, and the judge initially refuses, but upon seeing her persistence he gave her justice, because he didn’t really want to deal with her anymore.
This may not seem like the most motivating parable, but the purpose of parables was to point out the things people were missing in simple ways that they could understand, and Luke 18:1 tells us the purpose of this parable: "That they'd know their need to pray always and not to lose heart..."
I think that's a really powerful sentence for us. In saying this, he seems to be acknowledging the fact that there are and will be very real reasons for us to lose heart or walk away, or say it’s too much to handle, and he connects this with the need to pray always, because “…will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?” (Luke 18:7)
Now, in Luke's gospel if we can say one thing about Jesus - it's that he prays! When Jesus is praying what we see is that prayer is about opening hearts and minds to see and notice what God is doing right in front of us. We’re almost halfway through the semester, and life is getting busy. We have assignments and responsibilities and tests, and we find ourselves juggling all of these different things, and our eyes get so focused on these things that we forget to look beyond them, to take notice of the things we don’t normally see, because if we look around, and look past what we have become so focused on, we can see how God is moving, and we can see the promise that God has given us change our lives right now. This is not some distant promise. He is here. Now.
“20 Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
Jesus has died and risen for you, for your sins. He has washed you clean and called you his child, his heir with Christ. His promise is for you. So, take a moment to look around, to see past whatever it is that you are juggling, and see how God is moving in your life, because He is. He is right there with you.
Some questions for thought:
Have you lost heart? Cry out to God.
How is Jesus challenging you to a different way of being in ministry?
When the Kingdom of God feels far off, what does it look like for you to pray and see God's action in that moment?
Examen – This is a prayer practice that takes you through your day, from beginning to end, and seeks to open your eyes to the ways God is moving in your life today. Take a breath, open your heart, and take notice of God’s presence in your life.
-Tony Jeck and Caroline Massey