As I was scanning through scripture, doing some research for an essay I’m working on, I came across a passage in Luke I needed to be reminded of. Something I am trying to do…
1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary. ’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming. ’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8 ESV)
“Pray and not lose heart.” (προσεύχεσθαι b αὐτοὺς καὶ μὴ ἐγκακεῖν — literally, not become despondent.) I’m trying not to lose heart. It’s been a hard few years, what with all the crap with the ELCA and not being able to find work or earn my own keep and now staying with friends (who are kind to take us in and keep us — but you be a grown adult utterly dependent on others for home and well-being). I know I have a book out, and things are beginning to happen, but it’s still incredibly demoralizing not to be able to find work (and how I have tried!) and take care of myself and my wife. It’s almost more than I can bear sometimes.
But pray and not lose heart. This is what the Evangelist Luke tells us. It’s also what St. Paul tells us in his second letter to the church in Thessalonica:
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)
I will try. To rejoice always, to pray without ceasing, and not to lose heart.