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Parable of the Persistent Widow
“And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice
against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I
neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give
her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”
One afternoon, my children and I sat together playing a card game on the floor in my son’s bedroom. I wish I could say my purpose that day was to create a warm memory for my children. In truth, I was in hiding. Earlier in the day I had confronted a contractor about damage he had done while installing a new floor in my kitchen. I cowered inside my home, hiding behind a hand of playing cards while he stood on my front lawn shouting obscenities into his cell phone.
I am not a terribly assertive person and have a difficult time standing up for myself, even when I am certain I am in the right. Even though she knew the judge’s reputation, the widow depicted in Luke’s parable had no choice but to persist in pressing her case. Socially and economically destitute, she knew there was nothing she could do to ease her misery. She had nowhere else to turn.
Sometimes the messages of Christ’s parables aren’t immediately obvious, but in this case he makes his meaning plain. He tells his followers he wants them to persist in prayer and not lose heart.
During Lent, we consider our utter inability to alleviate the misery of our brokenness and sin. Christ invites us to cry out to him in our need, but not in order to gain his favor or persuade him to help. In this season we remember that Christ has already begun the work of redeeming and restoring all things. Coming to Christ without fear and crying out in the poverty of our helplessness become affirmations of faith.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Is there an area in your life in which you have been tempted to give up on prayer? Will you accept Christ’s invitation to persevere?
PRAYER: Forgive me, Lord, for those times when I rest in my own abilities and forget I am as destitute as this widow. Forgive me when my faith grows thin and my persistence in prayer grows weak. Remind me to persist in coming to you without fear, offering to you the deepest cries of my heart. Help me to remember you are always powerful and good and are already at work redeeming and restoring all things. Amen.
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