Jesus told a story about a widow who kept going to a judge and asking for justice. He told the story so that his disciples would always pray and not give up.
- Not give up because of how long things take.
- To not give up because of how people respond.
- To not give up when we don’t like how things are going.
The key to this parable is that she was asking the judge for the very thing he was supposed to do: to administer justice. She wasn’t asking him for things that weren’t part of his job.
When Jesus teaches us to pray, he says….
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Those are the things to ask God for. Regularly, repeatedly, persistently.
So don’t give up on these things.
But what do the stories we read today teach us about praying and not giving up?
Jeremiah and Timothy were both called by God to fail. Depending on what it means to fail.
They were both told that people would not listen to them. That people would reject the words that they would say. Even when the words came from God.
Which meant that God wasn’t planning to measure their success by the number of people who followed them on Facebook. God wasn’t going to determine their value by the number of people who attended their churches, who bought their books.
Instead, success for Jeremiah and Timothy meant doing their job faithfully. And expecting that people wouldn’t like them. And expecting that they would go to jail, that they would be dragged away from home, that they might not have homes.
We put our confidence in outcomes. We put our confidence in plans, in the market, in health. We put our confidence in how things worked out for other people.
And then those things fall apart. So we lose hope. We lose confidence. We get discouraged. We fail apart. We stop working toward healthy outcomes. We live in unhealthy outcomes.
Remember this. Our confidence is not in outcomes. Our confidence is in God. As we ask God for the things that ARE his desire, he will respond.
Reflecting the readings for Sunday from Jeremiah 31:27-34 and 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 and Luke 18:1-8.