If you’ve been praying for long, you’ve probably been troubled by what seemed like a lack of response from God.
Why aren’t you hearing me, God?
Maybe you gave up. Maybe you stopped asking.
He’s not listening, you thought, so I’ll drop it.
Don’t do that . . . not until you receive a clear answer from him one way or the other.
Jesus once told a story that addresses this struggle.
Read it carefully.
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).
This man was a bad judge.
He didn’t care about right and wrong, he didn’t care about justice, and he apparently didn’t care about people.
In fact, he ignored this poor widow, hoping she’d just go away and save him the trouble of dealing with her problem.
But he finally gave in, not because he wanted to help her, but so she’d get off his back.
In other words, he was completely unlike God.
And that’s the Lord’s point. If even someone like this unsympathetic judge will eventually respond to a persistent widow, how much more will a loving, compassionate God answer his children’s cries?
The implied answer is obvious: he will hear, and he will answer.
If you’re concerned that it seems like there’s no sense of justice—like the wicked are getting away with their sinfulness—Jesus wants you to know that God will make sure justice prevails.
When you feel like giving up, when you feel like God is ignoring you, Jesus wants you to “pray and not lose heart.”
I suspect that sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers initially so that he can teach us patience and steadfastness.
What is there in your prayer life that you’ve abandoned because it seemed like God was silent?
Don’t lose faith . . . he hears, and he’ll answer, but he’ll act according to the time schedule that he knows to be best.