Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Whiner

I am continuing to read in Luke. Today I picked up in Luke 18. The story of the whining widow. Your translation may say something like the PERSISTENT Widow, but make no mistake she was a whiner.

Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. He said, “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights are being violated. Protect me!’  “He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, ‘I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. But because this widow won’t quit badgering me, I’d better do something and see that she gets justice—otherwise I’m going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her pounding.’” Then the Master said, “Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?”

She's like my children. They have been known at times to wear down. He wants something, or he needs my assistance. Doesn't matter what I am doing; the laundry, an important phone call, making dinner, or perhaps I am on my way to a quick and quiet retreat in that special place I call the bathroom. "Mom. Mom. Mom. Can you hear me in there? Mom. Mom. Mom. Whatcha doing in there? Mom. I need your help mom. Mom? Mom? Mom?"  I didn't want to say yes. I didn't need to say yes. His crisis was in fact not my crisis. But I will admit it. There have been times when I have relented and said yes JUST so HE would stop talking to me! And let's be honest, an extra cookie never killed anyone. If your children are old enough to both talk and follow you from place to place in your home, then you have probably had this conversation too.

Jesus used this familiar exchange as a teachable moment. And he specifically says it's a lesson in prayer. The king did not care about the woman at all, nor was he a Godly man. Yet he relented. Not for the benefit of the woman but instead for his personal peace. See, the woman just didn't give up. She knew in heart heart what she needed - and she stuck to her repeated request. But God does care. He cares so much that he sacrificed all for me. So what am I suppose to unpack from this little passage of truth?

When it comes to my practice of prayer: Do I give up? Do I say my nice little prayer and wait 5 seconds for the tidy little answer I wanted tied up in a cute little bow? If my answer isn't quick, do I move on to the next thing? Is my heart open? Do I expect God to in some way respond? Am I fervent? How much listening is in my praying? How much waiting is in my praying? And what about when I don't even have the words. What about when life is just too big and things are just so broken? In those moments, my prayer is often just one word.


There is power in the name!
Thank you God for hearing the cry of my heart when all my mouth can say is Jesus.  Amen

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