I think it’s easy to give up. I know many who have, and at times I’m tempted to. You look at the condition of the world sometimes, and it’s easy to think, “where is God?” And then the best we can do is merely try to make the best of it. This is a tempting and understandable way of being.
After several chapters of hard words from Jesus, where Jesus himself seems to be getting fatigued of working for justice by speaking truth to power, it’s easy to give up. It’s easy to give up on pressing through and reading this Gospel, and it’s easy to give up on pressing through and working for justice. But here Jesus tells us not to. Don’t give up. Do not ever give up on the hope, truth, and reality that God is in this with us.
When I think about the Parable of the Persistent Widow, I often forget how specific it is. This is not a parable about annoying God to get whatever we want. This is a parable about not giving up on justice. And it’s important to point out that it’s not that God is holding out on us like the judge in the parable. That judge was “unjust” but still gave in to justice eventually. Jesus points out, “And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?”(18:7). God is in this fight with us.
The problem is that this thing called “justice” involves humans making choices everyday. It involves broken kingdom of the world, and a humanity and global system that do not see or value the one global humanity for which Jesus has been advocating in this Gospel. And so it may seem like God has abandoned us, but it’s simply not true.
The proof of that for me is that the longing for peace and justice in the world is still embedded into me. There’s a heart cry that doesn’t die. Where does that come from? Because of that we continue to work for peace and justice, but in order to do that we must continue to pray for peace and justice. For it is (I believe) through prayer that the vision for peace and justice is fed and nurtured. So let’s not lose heart. Let’s keep moving, keep working, and keep praying.