In order to teach His followers to always pray and never give up, Jesus told them a story. It’s a story about a judge who couldn’t care less for God, justice or the people he was supposed to be serving. It appears that this was just a job for the judge and not much else.
However, there was a widow who was suffering injustice because of an adversary. She would come back time after time to the judge in order to press her case. He ignored her for a while, but she was not going to let him off the hook that easily. She was just not giving up. The judge was growing exasperated with the woman‘s persistence and finally told himself, “I don’t fear God or care for people, this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!” (Luke 18:4-5) NLT.
From the narrative, we can glean that Jesus assumed his listeners knew how far removed from the character of this judge, the character of God is. He did not go into detail about the fact that God is a righteous Judge; that He loves justice and hates injustice. Nor did Jesus highlight the fact that God loves people. There were plenty of that attested to in the Scriptures, and plenty of that modelled in the life of Jesus Himself. Later, when Jesus was falsely accused and treated unjustly, He committed Himself to God, His Father, who judges justly. “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” (1Peter 2:23) NIV
The bottom-line is: God hears prayers (Psalm 65:2), even those prayers because of problems we have brought on ourselves. He hears all our pleas. He may not always answer immediately, but He hears our prayers nevertheless. Someone once wrote, “A delay is not a denial.” God’s timing is perfect and God does not answer according to our schedules, but He answers nevertheless. We should pray expecting answers to our prayers. A delay in prayer does not mean God doesn’t love us. (That’s the thought pattern of some teenagers, by the way, when their parents don’t immediately give in to their requests). The terminal disease of Lazarus of Bethany being a case in point. Jesus loved Lazarus and his two sisters. He often spent time at their home. He receives news that Lazarus is seriously ill and says the Bible, “Although Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus, He stayed where He was for the next two days.” (John 11:5-6) NLT
To human understanding that makes no sense at all. When we hear of someone we love being gravely ill, we rush to be at their side. Jesus however, knew something everyone else didn’t. This wasn’t going to be a tragedy, but a miracle. There were times that He healed the sick immediately, but here God had given different orders. God’s orders are always for our best interest, even though it may appear to be to our detriment. That’s where faith comes in. So, when the situation appeared beyond all hope, God arrives on the scene and brings life to what was dead.Because of that miracle, many believed: “Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in Him.” (John 11:45) NIV
What might appear to us as a situation beyond hope, might be a miracle in the making. Let us remain encouraged in hope and patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Pray and never give up. Babe Ruth said, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”