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  • Kenneth Noh

Social Suspicion

Dear New Life, For this week, please remember to read Mark 13. How are you? It's strange how social distancing forces us to see each other. The other day I went to the post office where everyone was keeping their distance from each other with a suspicious look because people cannot trust each other. This made me wonder how we see our God. Jesus teaches us many things about prayer but one passage I would like to consider is Luke 18:1-8. Here Jesus tells his disciples a parable about a persistent widow. Her social standing is not someone with power or influence. She is vulnerable and here she is in need of justice because someone has wronged her. Luke 18:1–8 (ESV) The Parable of the Persistent Widow 18 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” In this parable, even this unjust judge would listen to the pleas of this persistent widow. But do you seek God as if he is an unjust judge? Do you need to convince him as if he is a terrible person who does not hear the prayers of his people? We should not seek God with a suspicious look as if he is an unjust judge. We seek the God full of mercy and so our approach in prayer should reflect our trust in him. Fear causes us to doubt because of our circumstances and we approach God not knowing what he will do. Fear can make us doubt God as if he really does not intend good for us. But this is not the purpose of prayer, because prayer is not seeking God in uncertainty but rather with confidence. We are not confident in ourselves but we should be absolutely confident in our God who is the Lord of the whole universe. Our prayers should be an expression of trust and dependance. We live in a time where there are currently many reasons why people feel anxious and unsure. Usually, people are more encouraged to pray in times of trouble and worry. However, I would like to challenge you to pray in faith and not with fear. These two are not the same and it shapes the way you pray completely. In Luke 18:1 the purpose of this parable is clearly given, "that they ought always to pray and not lose heart." What does it mean to "not lose heart?" In Luke 18:8 Jesus shows us this answer when he asks this question, "will he find faith on earth?" The person who does not lose heart is the person who prays in faith. The person full of faith will be the person who prays with all their heart. Do not lose heart. Instead let us seek God with hearts full of faith. Grace and peace, P. Kenny

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