One does not have to live very long, being in touch with the heartaches of life before we utter the cry: God help me! Whether it is an issue related to our church ministry, or a disappointment in a relationship, or a dashed dream, or a medical situation, at times in our lives we feel helpless, maybe victimized, but certainly seeing hope wane. In this darkened moments, we are ready to give up.
Jesus tells this parable about a persistent person who demands justice from a judge. The judge doesn’t care about people nor God, but loves peace and quiet. So for no good reason other than the hope for silence, the judge offers help to the woman.
In telling this parable, Jesus is saying: see this uncaring judge, how even he gave in to this plea, so how much more will your Father hear your cries and come to your aid.
Jesus presents this parable to his disciples, to those who are learning to pray—your kingdom come. He is teaching his disciples, including us, that we are to be people who keep seeking God, keeping turning to God, keep expecting God to work.
It is not always easy. Often when we offer cries of the heart there is a great deal of delay before a resolution. When we are helpless, when we are victimized, we want answers now! Patience is often not an observed virtue. And we wait.
Jesus lived a prayerful life. Luke 6:12 notes that Jesus prayed all night long. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed so intensily that he broke out in to a bloody sweat. Prayer, an enlivened relationship with God, characterized Jesus’ life.
So he calls us to pray and not to give up.
When we are up against the hardships and heartaches of life, often we pray God help me; God how much more; God when will you intervene? (See Psalm 44:22ff.) Jesus is calling us to a place of ruthless and restful trust.
Jesus is not presenting prayer as a type of slot machine where we keep dropping the quarters and pulling the arm, because our odds get better with each prayer and soon, or at least sometime we will hit the prayer jackpot. Rather, Jesus is calling us to put our lives in the hands of the Father, knowing that he loves us and that he will come though.
The Psalmist says:
Psa. 121 I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made the heavens and the earth!
He will not let you stumble and fall;
the one who watches over you will not sleep.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never tires and never sleeps.
The LORD himself watches over you!
The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not hurt you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The LORD keeps you from all evil
and preserves your life.
The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.
This is the stance from which we live.