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Persistence: Lessons from a widow

In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tell the parable of the persistent widow. She is a poor, powerless widow up against a corrupt, powerful judge and she is seeking justice. While the Bible is clear on its teaching that those in power and leadership roles are to work justly and stand up for the week and the poor, we all know that not all in power and leadership are just. However, this is not Jesus’ point in this parable. Instead, there are three things we can learn from the persistent widow in this parable 1) persistence doesn’t give up; 2) persistence will keep the faith; 3) persistence understands that justice in a corrupt world can only come from God. 

Persistence doesn’t give up. 

How many times to we pray and pray for something and then give up? Do you ever think about when you get to heaven and ask God, “Why didn’t you answer this prayer?” and His reply will be “You were only one prayer away, but you gave up.” This parable of a nagging, persistent widow is a reminder to us to not give up.

Chapter 18 opens with an explanation of why Jesus is telling this parable. Verse 1 says: “He then told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not become discouraged.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul wrote, “Pray without ceasing.”  In Isaiah 43:19, God says through the prophet, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” From cover to cover, the Bible is clear that we need to be persistent in prayer.

Jesus uses an odd representation in this parable. The poor, widowed woman represent those listening to Jesus tell the story (or reading it from the Bible) – in other words, she represents us. The person to whom she is nagging and insisting on justice is a corrupt judge, which Jesus is using to represent God. This doesn’t mean that Jesus was saying God is corrupt. The point he was making is that if the nagging woman’s persistence paid off with a corrupt judge who is limited by the power he holds on earth within his office, then how much more will it pay off with a just God with eternally, infinitely powerful?

Why should we not give up? Because you may be just one prayer away from an answered prayer. Keep praying. Don’t give up. Pray without ceasing. Pray always and do not become discouraged.

Persistence will keep the Faith.

Jesus knew that living for Him in a fallen, corrupt world would not be easy and through this parable he wanted to encourage us to keep our faith, even when the odds are stacked up against us. By using a juxtaposition of a corrupt judge with a just God, Jesus implies that even in the midst of a corrupt, fallen, broken world, God’s will will be done.

Perhaps the judge had no plans to give the woman justice, but God is a God who defends the widows (Psalm 68:5) and so even though the judge has no concern for her need and no plans to do the right thing, he will give in simply to get the woman to stop nagging him and in the end he will do the right thing because God wills it.

We can find similar teaching in the Bible in verses such as John 19:11, Romans 13:1, and 1 Peter 2:13 where it is clear that those in government positions are placed there by God and they do what He wills, whether they acknowledge it or not. We can keep the faith, even in a corrupt, broken world that justice will be done because ultimately, God is in control. Yet we also have a responsibility as citizens to pray for our government leaders – and to not give up praying.

Persistence understands that justice in a corrupt world can only come from God. 

There is an old commercial from many years ago that was used for eating healthy and as we moved into the computer age, it manifested itself again. The point of the commercial was “garbage in, garbage out.” In a world full of corruption, why do we expect any outcome except corruption? Corrupt people do corrupt things. The only way that justice occurs in a corrupt world is through the hand and work of God. This is why we must not give up praying and why we must keep the faith.

Just as God can bring miraculous healing to those with COVID19, so He can bring miraculous justice in the world as the people of God pray without ceasing. In the parable, Jesus does not ever say that God intervened but he does imply as he closes out the parable that God is an unseen actor in the story. In verses 7-8 he says: “Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay to help them? I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?”

Will Jesus find faith on earth?

Do we have faith that God will grant justice to us? Do we believe that He is acting on our behalf, even if we can’t see his hands at work in our lives? Will he find the kind of faith that is persistent, unrelenting, and doesn’t give up?

God, thank you that you hear our prayers. Help us to be persistent and to keep the faith. Help us to trust in You as You are working behind the scenes in ways we never know to bring about your perfect plan.

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The tassel was worth the hassle

This week, we are celebrating the accomplishments of the class of 2021. If you have a high school, college, or university graduate this year, our “Tassel was worth the Hassle” shirts and products make a great gift. View the samples below and other products in this design in our Spreadshop store. Once in the store, you can click on the customize tab and add your school name or graduate’s name!

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See our other graduation tees and products:

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Once in the store, you can click on the customize tab and add your school name or graduate’s name!

See our other graduation tees and products:

Graduating Seniors and Class of 2021

Once in the store, you can click on the customize tab and add your school name or graduate’s name!

The slide show below highlights some of our favorite Christian Tees designs available in our Spreadshop and Teespring stores.

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