Thursday, October 14, 2010

Keep Praying Luke 18:1-8

There's a real picture of a human faith and prayer that Jesus paints as he tells the story of the widow and the unjust judge. It's a vivid picture that both haunts and inspires. We want to meet God and see him and reach him easily; truth is we want all of our encounters with God to be easy.

Jesus knows what we want from God; and he spoke boldly about the real character of God that isn't always what humans want it to be. We want our prayers to be heard and answered fast. Prayers offered to an entity who will answer in our timeframe aren't prayers to the real God.

Jesus said when you pray remember the woman who came to a judge who refused to listen. Remember her persistence when you come to God time after time. Jesus words are meant both to encourage and inspire us. But I also hear words of warning: there will be struggles among people of faith who pray to the God. There will be struggles even for those who have no place else to turn and are completely depending on God for help. Even more frightening to consider is that there might not be any answers from God that we would want to hear.

We might be the one who comes to God like this woman. We might be like the woman who wasn't been heard and who asked for a long time be heard. Martin Luther wrote of God's will both to be known and to be hidden. A good explanation of God's hiding in Luther's theology has been offered by Steven Paulson. It's an uneasy reality to face.

Jesus' story of the widow and the unjust judge is especially uncomfortable when you dwell in the middle space waiting to be heard having no place else to turn except for God. Frieghtening questions pop up inside those in the waiting middle space waiting for God, "Where are you God? Do you care?" There's no way through this middle space between us and God except faith; their are no anchors to hold to except faith in the God you can't see and hear and taste and touch and smell.

May God grant us perseverence and long suffering faith that his great and glorious will will be done among us. AMEN.

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