Over the years I have heard many people give their opinions about what God is like. All too often these ideas are less dependent on the Bible and are more influenced by popular culture. This kind of thinking is both dangerous and unnecessary. It is dangerous because an inaccurate understanding of God will lead to bad choices that will impact us now and forever. It is unnecessary because the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself so that we can be certain about who He is and what He is like.
This week we are reading several parables that Jesus used to describe God, His values, character and how we can relate to Him. The parable in Chapter 19 tells a story of a widow that pesters a judge continually for justice in a matter. This powerful and cold-hearted judge finally relents just to get her off his back. Jesus tells us in the beginning of the chapter the main point of the parable. He says, “Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up." Remember that parables are stories that are created to illustrate, usually, one key point. Often Jesus would use stark contrasts to bring His point home and this is a great example. Our heavenly Father is powerful but not at all heartless like the judge. He has great compassion for His children and is ready to help if we will humble ourselves and ask. Our being persistent is not to coerce God into doing what we want but to show that we are serious. If God delays, it is always because He knows what is best. Our continuous praying shows that we know He is the source we rely on. Continuing to go to Him reinforces this dependence.
I think one aspect of what Jesus is saying is that a key indicator of faith is our continued prayer for things that really matter. An example in my life is continued prayer that my dad would accept Jesus. Specifically, I asked God to bring people and circumstances into dad’s life that would get his attention and show him that he needed God. Over a period of decades God answered this prayer in many ways and at the age of 78 my dad became a follower. Seeing God work in dad’s life has strengthened my faith immeasurably. This is what God is like!