Friday, January 19, 2007

don't give up!

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18

In what ways are we tempted to give up? How many ways, is more like the right question. Maybe it's not giving up entirely, but settling for something far less than we might aspire to, or believe is best, in God's will.

There is a healthy realism in life. That accepts God's will even in difficult situations and setbacks. And after disappointment and grief, presses on, seeing the good hand of God in life, or believing in God's goodness in spite of circumstances. This is important if we're to live as those who do not give up.

Jesus tells his disciples something very simple with a story. Comparing God to an unjust judge who finally reluctantly gives in to a persistent plea for justice from a widow. He tells them, and us, that if this kind of judge would finally give in, then wouldn't our good God answer prayers for justice from his people. Of course, he will. So we should always pray, and not give up. Doing so individually and together.

Yes, pray. What are we struggling with? What trials are we experiencing? What temptations might we be wrestling with? What obstacles seem to block our way? All this, and more, is really nothing to God. So we need to take these and everything else to God in prayer.

I've seen his answers whenever I do that. Maybe not instantly, but "in time". And when I haven't prayed? Or not persistently, as Jesus teaches in this passage? I have more or less given up. Caved in. Gave way. And therefore failed to see and experience God's goodness in his answer.

To not give up is to press on, in prayer to God. In faith. Believing he will answer according to his own good will. That he will work in our lives, and in the situation we bring before him. That is the way, according to Jesus, that we can avoid giving up.

Is there something from your life or thoughts you would like to share on this? Or have us pray with you about?


L.L. Barkat said...

Really, Ted, your timing is impeccable. I just got my next round of revisions for my book back from the editor... oy... must I reach for more than I aspire to? :)

Charity Singleton said...

I was just thinking that the things I often give up praying for are the things that weren't true desires of my heart in the first place. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I think I stop praying for things because I get bored with them.

I also was thinking of the joy in knowing God better when we dig in to pray for others or for the Lord's will in really hard situations. The exact answer is hardly the point after a while. The closeness we feel to the Lord is worth the struggle.

Ted Gossard said...

L.L., I'm very much looking forward to reading your book. Blessings on you as you finish in this new experience, and have fun with the editor and editing!

Ted Gossard said...

Charity, Your point is well taken. Maybe that's why God wants us to persist in praying for something. So that he can move in our hearts as to what really needs to be prayed for persistently, or how we should pray about it. Taking some time and faith to persist and work through it, on our part.

Yeah. So true. To have that sense of fellowship with God often seems to make the answer, when it comes, beside the point. Good to realize struggle is part of our faith at times.

RonMcK said...

I find this parable gives a rather miserly view of God. Does he really want us to beg.

I have always felt that this is a parable about resisting our enemy.

Ted Gossard said...

Ron, I like your thought here. Maybe you're right. I'll have to consider that further.

For now I still think there's a comparison going on here (cf.: Darrell Bock's NIV Application Commentary on Luke) between the unjust judge and the just God, and a comparison that has to do with their responses to people's pleas for justice.

I like, though, how you have such a fresh approach and outlook to Scriptures (or maybe a wider reader thant the rest of us). While firmly in the orthodox Christian faith.

KM said...

Hey Ted -- happy new year! ;-) (It's still nooo cuz I haven't talked to you in a while!)

Thanks for posting on perseverance; it is, as L.L. said, remarkably timely. My best friend is currently embattled in his new marriage and struggling against his old habit of running away and asserting anonymous independence. If you wouldn't mind, would you remember him in your prayers? I'm trying to enlist an army of intercessors!

Cheers, and God bless you in your ministries this year,

Ted Gossard said...

km, More than happy to pray for him. I hope there could be a good counselor to help him and his new wife through this situation.

You have a blessed and happy new year, as well.

KM said...

Thank you, Ted. God bless you.

-- KM