And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. (Luke 18:1, NIV)
Stuck In A Rut
Is there anything worse than being stuck in a rut? Much less the rut of the rote and routine grind of a loser job. And every time someone says “if you hate it that bad, why don’t you quit?” you are reminded again of the kids, the bills, the mortgage, the prescriptions, water, food, electricity, registration fees, car repairs, etc. etc., everything that requires money, which requires spending hours in the rut, which means remaining in the rut.
In the trenches.
Furrows on the forehead increasing.
As well as the hollow of the eyes, and the soul.
A Rut Is A Rut
The parable of the persistent widow is about a woman who is stuck. Her rut may differ from yours and mine, but a rut is a rut.
Jesus doesn’t give that many details, but He makes it plain that this woman’s rut runs deep. First, she has appeared continuously before a judge. This emphasizes not only that she doesn’t have a husband, but also no male family members to take care of these matters, a necessity in the first century. A male would have had the social clout to settle the matter in one trip to the courthouse. So the widow must tread the forbidden ground of a woman defending her rights in a society where women had no rights.
Second, a dispute has arisen. Most likely the adversary is attempting to take advantage of the widow’s situation by staking a claim to land and property that belongs to her family.
Third, the district judge, whose job is to carry out justice, doesn’t fear God or respect people.
And three strikes. She’s out! She might as well put down the bat.
An Epic Rut
The total surprise is that she even stepped up to the plate. A judge ignoring her. A fellow citizen taking advantage of her. No one watching over her. She’s in an epic rut.
No one who knows “how it is”, would blame the widow, or anyone for that matter, for throwing their hands in the air and shouting “What’s the use?” “What’s the use of praying?” “What’s the use of trying?”
Haven’t we all, at one time or another, felt like the situation is so hopeless that there’s no use in continually asking God for help? Day in. Day out. No answer comes. And the rut gets deeper and deeper. What’s the use?
As a Christian in a necessary, but hated job situation, filled with despair and hopelessness, I have definitely thought “Why bother?” The defeatist in me throws up my hands and cries “I need the money, what else can I do?”
Step Up To The Plate Routinely
Luke 18:1 says Jesus told this parable to teach the disciples that they ought always to pray and not give up, to keep their faith until the end (v. 8). By default, Jesus is also teaching that no matter how bad things are—no matter how deep the rut or how stuck in the rut you are—by faith, step up to the plate and pray.
The widow’s circumstances weighed heavily against her. But still she presented herself routinely before an unjust judge. She maintained her faith in the system though it had failed her time and again. No defeatist attitudes here. She took seriously the fact of being more than a conqueror.
Circumstances in the rut may cause you to believe that there is no use. No use to pray. No use to be disappointed when no answer comes. No use getting mad at God because He hasn’t answered yet. But Jesus Himself said, when everything is against you, I am for you. Don’t give up before you even begin (or get started “good”).
Pray. Maintain faith in the divine system which never fails. Present yourself before the just Judge with Jesus Christ as Your advocate. Believe that God answers the persistent prayers of His children.
God, please provide a new job for me, a new way to earn a living. I feel so stuck, so in a rut. Hear my cries of mercy and act speedily. I cast my anxieties on you God, because you care for me. And I believe Scripture when it says that if I know You hear me in whatever I ask, I know that I have the request that I have made of You. Thank you for prayer. Act quickly. Increase my faith.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.