Monday, March 6, 2023

Answering Doctor Who's Prayer

Suggested Reading: Luke 18:1-8

There was an episode of Doctor Who where the Doctor was trapped in a place he'd been sent to via transporter, a place where, each day, everything in the room (including himself) reset to the way it was when he arrived. 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, in our opinions, is taking too long to happen.

Yes, sometimes, what we pray for take a long time to happen. And sometimes we stop praying for it to happen. 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?

Getting Yourself Killed Over a Real-Estate Deal

Suggested Reading: Acts 4:32-5:6 There is an interesting story in the book of Acts about some people who sold some land. At the end of ch...