Render a just decision for me against my adversary.
How often, when you hear this story, do you picture a stocky old woman with a grating voice—a stereotypical “nag”? You might compare her stubbornness to the persistence of a bulldog or the relentlessness of a broken record. Today when you think of her, try something different: look at her as a model of confidence, contentment, and courage.
This widow fears neither her adversary nor the annoyance of the judge; she bravely demands justice. It takes fortitude to continue when things aren’t going your way. It’s tempting to give up hope when your prayers are not immediately answered. The “long time” that the judge refuses the widow’s request doesn’t stop her. She keeps reminding him of her request, and she can teach us courage in pursuing God even when we encounter setbacks.
This woman is convinced that she’s in the right and that God cares about her. So when she faces the roadblock of an uncooperative judge, she doesn’t give up. She knows God is on her side, and that knowledge emboldens her. Just so, each of us can be confident in God’s personal care for us.
As she waits on God’s timing, the widow shows a certain level of contentment. She trusts that God will set things right. So too Jesus promises that as we persist in prayer and trust God, we will find contentment even while we wait. We can be content knowing that we are doing what God asks of us. The rest is up to him, and we can trust he will answer us.
Jesus ends his parable by asking whether, when he returns, he will find any faith on the earth. This was not an arbitrary question tacked onto the end of the parable as an afterthought. The kind of faith Jesus is looking for is the faith of this persistent widow: one that demonstrates courage, confidence, and contentment. When we have faith like this, our prayers are not filled with desperate begging but with joyful expectancy. So imitate the persistent widow today as you bring your needs to God.
word among us