by: Tom Bast
We come again to a parable found only in Luke, the parable of the persistent widow. A parable has one main point, and Jesus’ point is that persistence in prayer pays off. The only thing to do, when our prayers don’t seem to be answered, is to double down and keep praying. There is no fallback position in the life of faith.
Author Philip Yancey has described faith as a sort of “reverse paranoia.” Think of it this way: if a person’s outlook on life is controlled by an irrational paranoia, anything that happens can be interpreted to feed that delusion. So too, if a person’s life is controlled by faith, everything will be seen through that lens. And this is true when the answer to even our most fervent prayers seems to be no. A profound insight into this mystery comes from an unlikely source. The comedian Norm McDonald, in offering to pray for a friend who had suffered a heart-wrenching loss, said, “I found when I embraced the pain as tightly as I could it became love.”
Author Flannery O’Connor, who suffered from lupus, would immerse her feet in buckets of ice water so that she could stay awake at the typewriter. If even on the human level courageous persistence yields such rich dividends as her writings, how much more so on the spiritual level!