Every Wednesday, check the Eurasia Blog for a short devotion. It will always have a Scriptural focus, but with a touch on something going on in Eurasia or in the work of our missionaries and other personnel in the field. Please join us in these midweek devotions and feel free to make use of them for personal use, in families, or with groups, but we do ask that you credit this blog.
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself,‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 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 earth” (Luke 18:1-8 ESV)?
This is such a strange parable. After all, when you line up the parable with its interpretation, the unjust judge is God. What!? How can that be? Well, parables don’t always have a one to one correspondence. Not every part or aspect of the parable has a direct meaning. However, we can’t let God off the hook on this one: He’s the unjust judge in this scenario in that he is the one to whom the petitions come. Yet sometimes, God truly does seem like an unjust judge. Grandma has cancer. It’s horrible, it’s painful, it’s slowly devouring her, but your prayers seem to fall on deaf ears. You’ve been out of a job for a year, and you’ve prayed about it, but nothing happens. You have been proclaiming the Gospel to a friend for years. You’ve prayed for her, but nothing seems to be happening. Where is God? Is he listening?
If you have ever prayed and felt God was silent or unjust or slow in answering, then this parable is for you. Jesus hides a promise in a parable: Though God seems quiet, distant, uncaring, he will give you justice! The thing is, God’s justice doesn’t always look like our idea of justice. Sometimes it still looks like Grandma dying and finances dwindling. It still looks like the rejection of that friend. However, his justice, like the promise of this parable, is hidden somewhere. It is hidden in Christ. God’s justice is hidden in an innocent man put to death because of false witnesses and a miscarriage of worldly “justice.” God’s justice is hidden in a bloody cross, a dark day, a weeping mother, and a dead Son. God’s justice is hidden in the thundering silence returned to Jesus’ cry of “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Surely this does not look like justice. Where is God?
Where is God as the blameless Son murdered by the miscarriage of justice is sealed into a borrowed tomb? So far away, it seems! Ah, but God’s justice is speedy, indeed! On the third day, God raised Jesus from that dark tomb, justifying his bloody death on that seemingly unjust cross. So where is your justice when God is silent? It, too, is hidden in Christ. It is hidden in his bloody death and glorious resurrection. In Christ God’s justice prevails and abounds in the most backwards way possible: we sinners are made saints because of the God-Man who was made to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). In Christ, God’s justice will come speedily to you, even when all appearances are to the contrary. Therefore, pray persistently, holding God to his promises and his justice in Christ Jesus. And when the Son of Man comes, he will find faith on the earth, the faith which he creates, sustains, and justifies. The faith which prays persistently.
Therefore, let us pray :
Our Heavenly Father,
You resurrected your Son from the grave on the third day, fulfilling all promises, so that we may have a confident hope that You have defeated both death and the devil, and that You will bring us to be with You in eternal rest.
Just as You have fulfilled the promises concerning Your Son, we pray that You may fulfill Your promise that Your Word would not come back empty. We pray that Your Word may be preached with utmost purity, that Your Spirit would work in the hearts of those who hear Your Word, and that You may save them from the darkness and transfer them to the kingdom of Your beloved Son, in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins.
We pray for all the workers within the SCEAV (Silesian Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession) – the pastors, deacons, vicars, teachers, elders, and volunteers. We pray that You would lead them in their called vocation. We pray that Christ may be present in their lives by receiving Your Son’s gifts in both Word and Sacrament. We pray that prayer would be continual in their lives, so that everything – whether difficulty or blessing – may be brought before Your throne.
We pray that You would give these workers wisdom to carry out their responsibilities as church leaders. Give them the wisdom to lead Your flock. Give them the wisdom for building relationships with those outside the church – with those who still need to hear Your saving message!
In Jesus’ name we bring all of this before You.
(This is taken from the summer newsletter of Ryan and Stanka Volkman serving the Lord in the Czech Republic, and was edited only for length. This prayer was composed by them for the people of the Czech Republic and the work being done there. As you persistently bring your own prayers and petitions before the Lord, we humbly ask that you also keep our missionaries, mission projects, and church partners in the Eurasia region in your prayers.)