When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?
The parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 is not a parable of comparison but a parable of contrasts. The judge in the story was unholy and uncompassionate, yet eventually he gave the widow what she wanted. How much more will a loving God do what is right for His children?
Another contrast in the story is between the judge’s timing and God’s timing. Jesus said in verses 7-8, “Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry out to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly.” The judge delayed in answering the widow’s request. But Jesus was saying, “Your heavenly Father will answer your request speedily.” To be honest, this does not match our experience, does it? We pray about things for weeks, months, and even years without an answer. So how do we reconcile our experience to the promise that God will answer our requests speedily?
I think the answer is found in the kind of prayer Jesus was talking about. Look again at verse 7: “Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry out to Him day and night?” The kind of prayer Jesus was promising to answer speedily was not, “Lord, give me this new car,” or, “Grant me that promotion.” No, Jesus was talking about deep, heartfelt prayers like those that will be uttered during the tribulation: “Lord, this world is falling apart. When are You coming back?” Isn’t that the prayer of Christians in every age? Every day we suffer the effects of sin in our lives, and our prayer is, “Lord, come quickly!”
I believe the kind of prayer Jesus was talking about here is a prayer for His second coming. And He promised, “I am coming quickly. You may think I have delayed my coming, but that is only because you have a different calendar than I do.” In 2 Peter 3:8-9, Peter said, “With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
In Luke 18:8, Jesus finished with this challenge: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Gary Inrig in his treatment of this parable said, “God isn’t like the judge, but are we like the widow? We can trust Him to answer, but can He trust us to keep asking?” Can God count on you to keep on praying even in the most difficult circumstances?
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Persistent Praying” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Gary Inrig, “The Parables: Understanding What Jesus Meant” (Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House, 1991), 159.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org