It’s a wonderful story… rich in truth and life lessons. In the Bible it’s often labeled as “The Parable of the Persistent Widow” (or “The Unjust Judge”). You really should read it yourself in the Bible… Luke 18:1-8. It’s a story that teaches by contrast more than analogy… The “unjust judge” (self-occupied, arrogant, and unwilling) in viewed in contrast to a “righteous God” (loving, righteous, and generous).
In the story a helpless widow comes time-and-again to an “unjust judge” asking for help and redress against an “adversary” who is taking advantage of her. At first the judge simply puts her off and ignores her. But she keeps coming! Finally, he tires of her coming, and in order not to be bothered by her any longer, he gives her justice and redress.
When Jesus told the story, He declared its purpose at the very beginning… that His followers “ought always to pray and not lose heart” (i.e. it’s purpose was to encourage “sustained faith” in prayer). In fact Jesus closed the story with these words: “And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry out to Him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?”
The story, which teaches by contrast, (The “unjust judge” is NOT like our “righteous Heavenly Father), is more about the character and God and the need for “sustained faith” than simply a lesson on the value of persistence (i.e. “persistence wins!”). Stories on the value of persistence are “a dime a dozen” (“we often quit to early” – we “throw in the towel” before we win).
Instead the lesson here, it seems to me, is that the Lord rewards “sustained faith!”
Here’s Bartel’s personal definition of “faith”…
Faith is confidence in God… trusting His character, believing and obeying His word, laying hold of His promises, following His leadership, and drawing upon his encouragement and strength.
Now I know that the Bible teaches it does not take a large amount of faith to gain answers to prayer and see God do great things: “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
But this story emphasizes the importance of “sustained faith!” It’s a faith that presses through, keeps believing, and keeps trusting in God and His promises regardless of the challenges, regardless of the trials, regardless of the adversaries and adversities!
So here’s my encouragement to you (and my personal resolve)… We have a faithful, righteous, loving God! Let’s keep coming to Him… keep asking… keep believing! … “sustained faith” is what we need! “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you He will give justice to them speedily! Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8)