Friday, February 15, 2019

Answering Doctor Who's Prayer

Recently I saw an episode of Doctor Who where the Doctor was trapped in a place he'd been sent to via transporter. Each time he left a room, it reset itself to the way it had been when he first arrived. That turned out to be a good thing since each day he died just as he was able to reinitialize the transporter which, because it had been reset to the way it was before he arrived, still had his pattern in the buffer and a new copy of himself suddenly appeared just as his dying body disintegrated into dust. Being the doctor, he was able to figure out that this had happened every day for approximately 4,000,000,000 years. But he didn't let that stop him from continuing the same routine every day as he slowly made progress toward escaping. He continued doing the same thing over and over again because he believed it would eventually work and it did.

In Luke 18, we see Jesus tell the Parable of the Persistent Widow. This widow, who desperately needed the judge to grant her justice, came to the judge day after day after day. So, even though this judge as a man who "neither feared God nor cared about people," (Luke 18:2, NLT)  he eventually gave in and granted her justice just so she would stop pestering him. Jesus concluded the parable by asking, "So don't you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?" (Luke 18:7-8, NLT). Jesus was addressing those whose prayers for justice (and perhaps other things) seem to go unanswered. That's why he said, "Will [God] keep putting them off?" Their prayers haven't been answered yet. The passage seems to imply that by the time Jesus returns, many of those prayers will still not have been answered and that those who keep praying are those whom "he will find on the earth who have faith."

What if the Doctor had gotten to the place where he finally decided that nothing was ever going to change and simply gave up? What if he stopped believing that doing the same thing day after day was eventually going to work and he just stopped? Sometimes, that is how we treat prayer. Sometimes, we stop praying for a particular person to be saved or healed because we stop believing it can ever happen. Sometimes we let our prayers go unsaid because, somewhere inside, we've stopped believing that they make a difference. So, rather than be faced with the disappointment of possibly unanswered prayers, we just stop praying. Or sometimes it is just easier not to think about that need than to continue yearning for something that is taking too long (in our opinions) to happen.

Yes, sometimes, the things we pray for take a long time to happen. And sometimes we stop praying for them. But have we stopped praying about it because we completely trust God to make it happen and have left it in God's hands? Or have we stopped praying about it because we've stopped believing anything will ever change? You are the only one who knows why you've stopped. So tell me, when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on earth who have faith?

Asking Already Answered Questions

Suggested Reading: Luke 18:35-42 In the Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report , three psychics hooked up to a computer interface predict cri...