July 24, 2016

The Widow and the Unjust Judge

The scripture in church where I worshipped today was Luke 18:1-8, the parable of the widow and the unjust judge. Luke introduces the parable with the explanation that it was "about their need to pray always and not to lose heart."  In the story, the widow petitioned the judge who at first refused to hear her case.  She persisted, though, and finally he relented.  The usual interpretation is that we are the widow, and we are to persist in prayer as she did in pleading her case.  But where this is troubling for me is that it turns God into an unjust judge -- one who refuses to hear us, and only grants us relief because we are getting on his nerves. 

I have come to a different understanding of the parable, one born out in my own spiritual experience.  What if God is the widow, and I am the unjust judge?  What if God comes to me over and over again, pleading God's case, and I refuse to listen?  I am the judge, weighing God's request perhaps but without what the scripture calls "the fear of the Lord," which is, of course, the beginning of wisdom.  Instead, I judge for myself, by myself, lacking wisdom, and I turn away from the God's pleading.  But, in a full measure of grace, God refuses to give up, and eventually I am worn down, finally agreeing to do it God's way, which is ever and always the only true way. 

It has often been my experience that an offer or opportunity or idea or invitation comes in multiple ways or is repeated over and over.  When that happens, I realize that the widow is at my door and the best thing to do is open up and say yes.  

Because God is infinitely faithful and will never give up.