Scripture: Luke 18:7-8 (ESV)
Power in Persistence
"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?"
In this story Jesus tells of a widow who demands justice from a judge who doesn't fear God or respect men. This man was abusing the justice court system, by refusing her case. But the widow continued to come demanding justice until the drained judge came to his own conclusion that he will not have rest until this woman has her justice served. So he complied.
This story shows the power of persistence; how even the crooked will give in, just to get it off their backs. When we come to God, we must be persistent in our prayers. For unlike the crooked judge, God is just and He will set all things right in the end. But what does it mean when God doesn't answer our prayers the way we want? My wife has been praying for Christ to become real to her family members for years, and she is still praying. Does this make God unjust? It may be tempting to believe that, but God is always working in ways we cannot see or imagine. God has perfect timing, and maybe He isn't saying "No", but "Not yet", like picking a wild strawberry before it's ripe yet.
We must have persistence, lest the Son of Man comes and finds that we gave up faith after the third or fourth time praying. Imagine if the widow gave up after the judge said, "no" the first time. Imagine if Elijah gave up on the sixth time praying, when rain would fall on the seventh. Imagine if Jericho's wall never fell because the Israelites gave up walking around the city on the third day, and devised a different strategy. Prayer needs persistence because it demands we have faith in God that He will bring justice, even when we don't see it.
Like the widow, I must be willing to come back to the exact same spot everyday seeking God's answer. But life is busy, maybe I can wake up earlier to dedicate the first waking moments to my prayers. Maybe I can write a "prayer prompt" on sticky notes in all the places I would be likely to see them and be reminded to pray.
"Lord Jesus, help me to be persistent, never giving up on my faith, so I may see your justice rain down in your perfect timing. Amen."