The psalmist called out in some dark night of his soul: “How long, O Lord? Will You hide yourself forever?” (Psalm 89:46 EHV).
It may seem at times, amid personal perils and challenges, that our prayers come back stamped with “return to sender.”
Jesus once told a little parable says Luke, “about the need to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1-8 EHV). The story is about a persistent widow who keeps coming for justice to an unjust judge. Finally, the unjust judge, who cares nothing about people and nothing about God, settles the case for her simply because he is worn down by her persistence.
The Savior drives home the point of the little story: “Listen to what the unjust judge says. Will not God give justice to his chosen ones, who are crying out to him day and night? Will he put off helping them? I tell you that he will give them justice quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
The point that we ought always to pray and not to give up is made not by a series of similarities, but by an array of opposites.
- The judge in the parable is unjust. God is perfectly just.
- The widow means nothing to the judge. You and I mean everything to God.
- The widow keeps coming to wear the judge down. We keep coming because of our gracious Savior’s promises.
- The unjust judge delays. God’s delays only seem so.
In that wonderful little Epiphany chapter, John 2, when Jesus is about to change water into wine at the wedding of Cana, Jesus replies to the request of His own mother, saying: “My time has not yet come”
Jesus’ time is always right. His plan of salvation, His rescue mission to redeem us, His deliberate surrender to the hands of His enemies, His bursting forth from the grave – all of this was more accurately timed than any railroad timetable. “At just the right time,” says the Bible, Christ died for us – not one minute too soon – not one minute too late. And then, the Holy Spirit brought us to faith through the gospel – not one minute too soon – not one minute too late. He has also promised to come again to take us home – not one minute too soon – not one minute too late.
Our Savior has pledged to us His word and His companionship on the road home. He has made every morning new, every step fresh with a finished forgiveness. He has invited us to pray. He would not promise such things if He did not intend to hear us. Never lose heart. Never, never, never give up!