I probably don’t need to ask because I think everyone reading this at some point has asked God the When, Why and most importantly, How long question. Likewise, many of us have uttered those famous words “Lord this is too much, I can’t take it anymore.” But whether or not it was too much you did or you are still living and breathing through the plight you desire to be rescued from.
For many years, I uttered those words. My life seemed to be one long nightmare and when I couldn’t see a way out, on a few occasions I took the words “I can’t take it anymore” a little further and tried to end my life. But as you can see, like you I’m still here. We can all testify to the fact that there is nothing more heart wrenching than to continually cry, and I mean CRY out to God, literally taking Luke 18: 1-8 (the story of the unjust judge and the widow) to heart, only to feel you are being ignored.
The opening line of the parable gives us hope by telling us to always pray and not give up. It paints a picture of an unjust judge with no morals. A man who neither feared God nor cared what others thought, is being constantly bombarded by a persistent widow, whom no doubt he found extremely annoying. By telling us the woman was a widow, we already know this is a woman who has experienced pain and heartache. And the fact the petitioning was done by her we must assume there was no one else she could have asked to fight her case.
Jesus made a point of letting us know that the only reason the judge gave into her was so she would get off his case and stop bothering him. He then concludes by comparing God to the unjust judge stating
“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
In Luke 8: 7-8. Christ highlights the unjustness of the judge in comparison to the compassionate nature of God to get His point across. If a man who has no regard for anyone but himself will help a persistent soul, if only for a bit of peace and quiet, how much more the one who loves them, who sent His own son to die for them? If we are to follow the sound advice Christ’s offers in this parable, and I know so many of us have, why is it some of us are still waiting for our justice?
I, in particular, have been praying about marriage for over twenty years, yet I’m still single, and it’s not because I’m being picky, trust me!!. This is a prayer that over the years often proved too painful to keep bringing up because unlike the widow my persistence got me nowhere. There were times when I literally felt the physical pangs of loneliness and prayed prayers of tears with very few words. There were times when it hurt so deep I was convinced in His compassion God would answer my prayer, but still no marriage. After a while, I refused to speak to God or anyone else about marriage because it hurt too much and made me angry. I refused to waste my breath on an area of my life where God remained silent.
To date I’m still single, so just where has my persistence got me? The answer to this depends on which way I choose to look at it. You see Jesus was right when He said we ought to always pray and not give up because God was trying to answer my prayer. He had spoken to me on two separate occasions, allowing p-l-e-n-t-y of time between each instruction for me to heed to what He was saying. The first time He spoke He asked “why won’t you let me heal your heart?” and the second time He told me I was holding up my own process. Both revelations had come after heated debates with friends as to why I refused to speak to God on the matter. In my book, God’s Romantic Getaway I share how eventually, when He finally had my full attention, my eye’s were opened to the issues I had regarding trust and emotional healing and it was then and only then that I realised what He had been trying to tell me. But I’d been too caught up in my pain to humble myself enough to seek Him as the widow did the judge. Having finally come to my senses and allowed Him to heal that area of my life, I’m now in a position to receive the next part of my prayer – The Answer.
It’s been three years since this revelation took place, and I admit there are times when my mind has tried to remind me in a heavy-hearted manner that it has been three years since God straightened me out and a total of twenty plus years in the waiting. Accompanying that reminder has been that old familiar pain, trying to push its way back in alongside a subtle suggestion that my believing is in vain. But I know this to be lies because of the encounters and conversations I had with God, many of which I share in my book. Because of the way in which God has and continues to transform my life. Because of God’s Romantic Getaway! You see God was never ignoring me, I was ignoring Him. He was answering my prayer the way it needed to be answered while I was just looking for the manifestation of my request. Since that trip, everything from the way I breathe to the way I sleep has changed. I no longer see or embrace things the way I used to. On a daily basis, I try my best to view everything, the good, the bad, the ugly, the challenging and the blessings through God’s eyes and not my own. And this I believe is what He call’s faith and possibly the answer to the question Jesus possess in Luke 18:8 –
“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Now, I’m not saying it’s easy, because it’s not always easy to keep on believing, hoping and praying yet seeing no change, when you have no idea what is going on. It is one of the hardest things to do. In Job chapter 23, Job complains bitterly about his persistent prayers that he feels are falling on deaf ears.
Job’s complaint is bitter and he feels his punishment is too harsh, and he longs for a face to face with God so He can tell Him so. Ever felt like that?
Job 23 Living Bible (TLB)
The reply of Job:
2 “My complaint today is still a bitter one, and my punishment far more severe than my fault deserves.
3 Oh, that I knew where to find God—that I could go to his throne and talk with him there.
4-5 I would tell him all about my side of this argument, and listen to his reply, and understand what he wants.
6 Would he merewer me with his greatness? No, he would listen with sympathy.
7 Fair and honest men could reason with him and be acquitted by my Judge.
In the following verses you can hear the pain in his voice as he expresses his despair.
8 But I search in vain. I seek him here, I seek him there and cannot find him.
9 I seek him in his workshop in the north but cannot find him there; nor can I find him in the south; there, too, he hides himself.
Yet in the same breath He still has hope.
10 But he knows every detail of what is happening to me; and when he has examined me, he will pronounce me completely innocent—as pure as solid gold!
Next we see Job stating how committed he was to his walk with God, how he loved and obeyed God’s commandments. He then goes on to declare that because God is God, He will do things the way He chooses to.
11 I have stayed in God’s paths, following his steps. I have not turned aside.
12 I have not refused his commandments but have enjoyed them more than my daily food.
13 Nevertheless, his mind concerning me remains unchanged, and who can turn him from his purposes? Whatever he wants to do, he does.
14 So he will do to me all he has planned, and there is more ahead.
This is a man at the end of his tether, who trusts in God, but can’t understand why God is not coming to his rescue.
15 No wonder I am so terrified in his presence. When I think of it, terror grips me.
16-17 God has given me a fainting heart; he, the Almighty, has terrified me with darkness all around me, thick, impenetrable darkness everywhere.
Like Job, none of us know what’s going on behind the scenes. No one knows what God has ordained, what He is rescuing us from or trying to teach us when he delays an answer to prayer. What He is trying to birth in us, pull out of us or endow upon us. All we see is what we can see, what we are limited to see.
I didn’t know that in order for God to eventually answer my prayer, He would first have to heal my damaged heart. I didn’t even know my heart was damaged. All I knew is that I was lonely. Job didn’t know that amongst many other things because he had not refused God’s commandments but had enjoyed them more than his daily food, God had boasted about him to satan, and his present troubles stemmed from God being proud of him and nothing else. God was so confident that Job would not turn his back on him, that regardless he would remain faithful to Him, He told satan, the one that seeks to devour us to take his best shot. And at the end of his trial Job was rewarded for his faithfulness and God was proved right!
So what’s my point? My point is simply God is faithful, He can be trusted. You can take Him at His word, but we have to change the way we look at things. We can’t judge what we’re going through based on what we can see. Having faith is more than just believing God for the answer. Having faith means believing and trusting in God, His deity, His character and all He represents.
So I encourage you to be persistent in your prayers God will and is answering you based on what He knows best. Remember in order to fix the solution, He may need to fix things in you. And the next time you’re going through a prolonged trying period in your life and feel like it’s too much, remember all of Job’s troubles and the reason God allowed them. It’s just possible He could be boasting about you.