Are you stuck? Do you, like me, feel as though things have stalled and that life has lost forward momentum? It happens. Sometimes it seems to happen for long stretches and I don't know what to do. I can't understand what the Lord is up to and life just doesn't seem fair.
What should we do when things are like this? I think it's helpful to take a closer look at Jesus' parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18. You may remember this little gem from Our Lord. A woman keeps pestering an unjust judge day and night, insisting relentlessly that he issue her a just judgment. This judge, we are told, "neither feared God nor respected any human being." That is itself a key point! When we distance ourselves from the Author of Life the story we are living loses its meaning, its purpose, and its narrative thread. Those who reject God will (not may) lose genuine love and respect for both themselves as well as other human beings, for we are all made in God's image and likeness.
And so, seeing as how this judge is introduced, is it any wonder that when we enter the story the poor widow is frustrated with him? She is in a rut. She's stuck. She can't move on because there is an imbalance, her life is out of sync and disharmonious. But what does she do? She pesters the judge. She refuses to quit. She does not relent. Finally, the judge decides to issue her a just judgment. But in this case, he does not do so out of an authentic interior alignment with Justice, per se. I love this parable! He only does it because of how annoying she is! Luke even records this delightful detail: the judge sides with her lest she finally come and "strike" him. His motives are entirely selfish and cowardly.
What's our takeaway? In the end of the parable Jesus makes it plain. If such a disreputable person like the unjust judge can ultimately be brought to make a just decision for a persistent claimant, how much more generously, swiftly, and compassionately will our loving Father in Heaven grant us all we need in true justice? We must ask him - even "pester" him! It's not for his sake, but for ours. Scripture tells us that God knows our needs before we do, before ever we ask (see Matthew 6:8). But we are slow learners with limited scope and without the slightest clue how all things are working together for God's greater glory.
When we "pray without growing weary" as Luke 18 begins, we are opening ourselves up to all the grand possibilities God has in store for us. We are learning to center our whole being around Christ, not greed fear or selfishness. We become gradually more able to receive new eyes, a new heart, a new perspective and disposition. We cease to obstruct the work of true justice and charity in and around us and our circumstances.
So pester God the Father today! Don't give up after a five second prayer said while squinting followed by a disappointed peek in which you see that what you wanted hasn't happened yet. Ask your loving Father in Heaven for faith and he will give it to you. That way, you and I won't be the ones to whom Jesus addresses the end of this parable when he says, "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"