Luke 18:1-8 - And Jesus told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.' For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.' "And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?"
This devotion pairs with this weekend's Lutheran Hour sermon, which can be found at lutheranhour.org.
The other day we were at a playground. My friend's seven-year-old daughter, Hazel, kept calling to him, "Hey daddy, look at me!" She's swinging on a rope—"Daddy, look at me!" She's climbing up a wall, "Daddy, daddy, look at me!" Her dad and I could barely get a few words into our conversation without Hazel pulling for his attention. And it reminded me how children thrive under the watchful favor of an engaged father and a mother.
The story we heard from Jesus touches one of our deepest human needs—questions that everybody asks at some point: "Do you see me? Do I matter to you? Am I important?" The widow in the story does not have a supportive community for whom she matters. Instead, she has an adversary, someone who is harming her. She brings her case to the judge, hoping she will matter to him. When she discovers that she does not, she does the only thing she can do. She becomes the squeaky wheel that gets the oil, the interrupting child who will not be ignored.
Jesus contrasts this lazy judge with God, the true Judge. Satan, our adversary, tries to fill our heads with false pictures of God to demoralize us. But the adversary is not the Creator. Satan cannot change the way things are, but only our perception of them. God is still faithful. Jesus came to show us. By His death and resurrection, Jesus proved that we matter to God. We were created to relate to God, not like a plaintiff suing for justice before a corrupt judge, not like children seeking attention from a distracted parent, but like a beloved daughter, a son, confident under the watchful eye of the Almighty Father.
Hazel's family stopped to visit us on their way down to Florida. Later, I spoke with her dad about the trip. He said there was a moment when Hazel was wading into the ocean and the waves kept knocking her off her feet. There, away from the playground, she wasn't saying, "Daddy, look at me." She was looking at all those overwhelming waves. In a panic, she turns in the water and sees her dad standing next to her. "Do you want to piggy-back?" he asked. "Yes," she answered. And in Jesus, our Father carries you on His back and says, "Look at Me."
WE PRAY: Dear Father, save Your people, bless Your heritage, and carry us forever. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Rev. Dr. Michael Zeigler, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour.
1. When are you tempted to believe that God doesn't see you, or that you don't matter to him?
2. Read Psalm 139:1-10. Which verse or verses are especially meaningful for you?
3. Commit those verses to memory by repeating them over and over. What might this do for you?
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