Have You Lost Heart?

Frank Becker, about 2018

We tend to focus on the things that trouble us. We lose our perspective. We can no longer see the forest for the trees. Our problems loom in our minds and capture our every thought. We get tunnel vision. We lose the transcendent in our concentration on the immediate.

In other words, we get caught up in what Zig Ziglar called, “Stinkin’ thinkin.’

We often find ourselves snapping at friends and loved ones, as though they are responsible. We ignore important tasks because we are neutralized and weakened by a sense of fear and helplessness.

This becomes a serious problem when it impacts our relations with others and our effectiveness as Christians.

It is the case with many today who are coming to believe that America is doomed and that Christians are in the devil’s crosshairs. But haven’t we always been harassed by that demonic predator who, like a roaring lion, goes about seeking whom he might devour?

Many feel overwhelmed and helpless to alter events and perhaps even survive.

In the parable of “the unjust judge,” Jesus taught us how to deal with such challenges.

He pictures a widow — the most helpless of all people in ancient Israel — seeking fair adjudication from an unjust judge. Read Luke’s account:

Then He (Jesus Christ) spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man,yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said.And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8; New King James Version)

I have been the victim of judges who actually opposed me, or those I represented, before any case was brought before them. Sometimes it was because of my political leanings, my belief in God, my opposition to certain life styles, etc. One judge rendered a fair judgment because he was an honest man. Others, because of their leanings and because they were aligned with and beholden to others, did everything they could to destroy me and the churches I was privileged to pastor.

And, unlike the lonely widow that Jesus speaks of, I had some influence. I had a few friends with money, or influence, but rarely enough.

Imagine this poor woman struggling to get a fair hearing.

Yet, what did the judge ultimately decide? He finally gave her justice from her adversary. Why? Because she was right? No! Because he was a good judge? No! He gave her justice because she annoyed him. She persisted in crying out for justice, and finally — in order to get rid of her — he found against her opponent and in her favor.

Jesus uses this parable to tell us that we ought always to pray, and not to faint in the face of adversity. This widow’s persistence was evidence of her stubborn faith.

Then the Lord goes on to tell his listeners that God is infinitely more understanding, loving, and fair than the unjust judge (or any earthly being), and that, unlike the unjust judge, God will answer speedily.

As Jesus continues his discourse, he seems to go off on a tangent, asking a very important question: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

As we draw deeper into the end times, the love of many waxes cold. At the same time, those who identify themselves as Christians seem to grow less persistent in prayer.

And when things seem to turn upside down around them, they look to their own devices to find a solution, or to the corporate body — the Church — rather than to God their Creator for resolution of their problems.

Consider this possibility: If we, the people of God, were to begin confessing and repenting our own sins (for it is necessary that judgment first begin in the Church), and if we begin together praying to our God and Savior for the answer to our nation’s needs, and if we persist in prayer, aren’t we more likely to receive a meaningful answer, rather than relying on our own devices?

Listen to Jesus’ words: “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?”

The Bible tells us to “Pray without ceasing,” to “Trust also in God, and lean not unto your own understanding, … and he shall bring it to pass.”