Badgering the Judge
Posted under The Rectory Bulletin
And [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)
This is a curious parable. What are we to make of the example of this widow who simply would not give up, and in what way should she be an example to us?
It is possible to read these verses and to conclude that if we pray enough then God will give us whatever we want. That widow kept on going back and back, and eventually so got what she wanted. Listen to the weary words of the judge in the parable: “Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.”
That is to miss the point. First of all, the widow was after justice and not some personal gain. She was after no other blessing than what was right to be done. Secondly, look at the point Jesus makes at the end the parable: “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth”?
The point here, then, is to do with a patient faith: praying for justice, and not losing heart. Allowing God to set the timetable and to trust him with our patience. Knowing that God is a God who will judge. So be persistent in your prayer. Keep on bringing the same names and situations before God.
And trust his timing.