Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
Sometimes Jesus’ disciples asked Him to explain the meaning of His parables and sometimes He volunteered the meaning, but here Luke gives the point even before he records the parable. That could well be because of the extreme importance of the lesson! Where the NIV says, “give up,” the Japanese says “lose hope.” We give up on various things for a variety of reasons, most of them trivial, but losing hope is more tragic. As I am frequently reminded, God’s time frame is different from ours. Peter put it in terms of a thousand years and a day, (2 Peter 3:8) but actually it is even greater than that, because God is outside of the flow of time entirely, acting within time as He wills. Sometimes the answer to prayer is in eternity! It takes a lot of faith to accept that, but such faith is far more likely to see miraculous answers to prayer than a more shallow faith would be. As it says in Psalm 42, (just to mention one example) we are to put our hope in God, not in any merely human agency. Our hope is not ultimately in any specific chain of events, but rather in God’s perfect will being done, in our lives and in this world as a whole. That’s what we are to keep praying for, without ever giving up.
This is something I’ve known in my head for a long time, but sometimes my heart and emotions have trouble keeping up! Like everyone else, I want answers NOW. Just as acceptance of delayed gratification is a major yardstick of maturity psychologically speaking, the same may be said of spiritual maturity. I don’t want to lose childlike wonder at the goodness of my Father, but at the same time I desire the spiritual maturity to accept His timetable without fuss. He has told me personally that there are many things in the world today that are not pleasing to Him, but that means I’ve got to accept His timetable for fixing them all, and trust that He can and will do it. That is utterly beyond my imagination, because it is humanly impossible, so again as He has told me personally, I’ve got to rest, relax, and rejoice, trusting Him implicitly and explicitly. That is praying without losing hope.
Father, thank You for this important reminder. Thank You for the times this computer has crashed in the process of my writing this. That may have been intended by the devil to block me from receiving it, but You used it to repeat Yourself to me to cement the message. Help me apply everything You say to me, not deceiving myself but serving as a demonstration of Your truth and grace, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!