Monday, May 6, 2013

Persistence: Proof of Faith

“… ‘Yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’… However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” – Luke 18:5 & 8

One of the sure signs that a person has faith in God in the first place, is that they come to God (Heb. 11:6). In other words, one comes to God because he believes God exists. An atheist does not come to God, because he has predetermined that there is no God.
Our Lord tells this parable about the widow who continuously sought justice from a corrupt and unjust metropolitan judge, until she got it. One of the sure signs that a person has faith in God to do something for them in answer to prayer is that they pray till it comes to pass.

Praying for something to come to pass shows you and I have faith to begin with. But let’s say a prayer is not answered for a while. What then? Will we be filled with utter despair and stop praying? Or worse yet, will we take matters in our own hands? On the other hand, will we, because we still believe God can answer, push the matter to Him in prayer till He answers? Jesus says that the latter option is what proves a person has faith. And faith is what Jesus desires from us. Faith is what He is looking for. That’s why He asks the question that closes out this parable, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Jesus here refers to the days when He will come to earth for the second time, which is yet future from our day. Will peoples’ faith regress as the time of His coming approaches, or will faith in God to answer pray still exist? That is a pertinent question to ask even today. Have we grown cold in faith? Are we dejected by delayed answers? Have we become accustomed to taking matters into our own hands or looking to alternate means by which to solve the issue at hand?
The injunction from this parable is not only to pray, but to have faith when we pray. And how shall faith be made operative, how shall faith continue? The answer is persistent prayer. In persistent prayer we prove that we have faith in God to answer, and so we keep coming back to ask. For if we stopped having faith we would have stopped coming to ask Him for help. But because we have faith, we continue to pray expectantly, till the answer comes. God rewards this kind of persistent faith with miraculous answers to prayer.

What is something that you are praying for? Don’t stop till He answers. Have you stopped praying because you are dejected by His seeming unresponsiveness? I encourage you to begin praying again. In fact, not I, but the Lord Himself, in the verse that necessitates the telling of this parable says, “…that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart…” (Luke 18:1). Friend, don’t lose heart. Unlike the unjust judge in the parable, God does not grow weary of our continuous asking. Yes, we are required to trust Him and not worry. However, to give up praying all together communicates lack of faith. Are you losing heart? Cheer up, stay persistent, and pray till He answers. Now lest you think this is some magic formula to get any prayer answered, please understand this. Woven into the very fabric of continually coming to God in prayer, is the act of fellowship, and a growing relationship with Him. And that is what God desires, not merely answering prayer. The answer He will give, but the heart He desires. When God has one’s heart fully, there is no request He will withhold, no matter how long it takes in coming.

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