“1 Then Jesus[a] told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4 For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8 I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’” – Luke 18:1-8
No one likes hearing the word “No”. The sound those two little letters make invokes a variety of emotions within a person, from shock to confusion, disappointment to anger, dejection to stubborn denial and even rebellion. When we were kids and wanted something to which our parents told us “No”, we either asked “Why?” a million times, or threw a tantrum (God bless those who tried and lived to tell the tale, talking to the old schoolers like me!), or said something we thought would hurt Mom or Dad. (Again, God bless those who tried that, too.)
As we grew up and heard “No” to many a request or desire, the on-the-floor tantrums stopped but another response/reaction took its place: defeatism. “Why should I bother trying? I already know the answer is going to ‘No’”. “That’s just the way it is for me. I’m just unlucky.” “The universe hates me.”
Who hasn’t thought these at least once in their lives?
Even as believers in Jesus Christ, as children of God, defeatism can be a hard adversary to conquer, and I believe a large factor is where the attack resides: the mind. Along with the heart the mind must be protected, cemented in the Word of God to help us hold on to our faith and to be victorious. The mind must be firm in knowing just who God is, and how much bigger, better, and stronger He is over our circumstances including the “No’s” of life.
Now, it wouldn’t be accurate for me to ignore that there are some “No’s” that work for our good, such as the prevention of toxic relationships, poor financial decisions, immoral choices, and anything else that would work to separate us from the love of God. While these can be painful and throw us for a loop, there comes that moment later in life when we look back at those instances and say, “Whew! Lord that was a close one!”
However, I’m not talking about those kinds of “No’s”. I’m referring to the type that keeps blocking what would be a blessing to us and others around us. The more we pray, fast, and meditate on God’s Word and His promises, it seems like that block grows and becomes impenetrable.
No becomes No becomes NO. The threat of defeat, of not wanting to try again, becomes more real every day. BUT fam, let’s take a tip from the woman in Jesus’ parable: let’s look that block, that barrier, that obstacle straight on and declare this:
NO = Not. Over.
The widow made her petitions for justice to an unbelieving, uncaring judge without ceasing. Each time he refused, thinking that she would give up. But she had that bounce-back spirit on the inside because she kept coming back, making her request no matter how many times he turned her away. Did his “No” hurt and discourage her? Jesus doesn’t say in this parable, yet I imagine it did. She was human, just as we are. Still, she persisted.
Why? Because to her, “NO” meant “Not Over.” She knew she was due justice, and she refused to give up despite the rejections and ridicule. She refused to accept the judge’s “No” as fact because she understood righteousness would be done. Day in, day out, she was in that man’s face until finally it was he who gave up:
’ 4 For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” – Luke 18:4-5
A judge whose job was to dispense justice, got tired of being bothered by a request for justice, and gave the widow what she wanted. The obstacle that was in her way was worn down, and he learned his “No” was her “Not Over”.
This woman’s conviction and faith are the key takeaways from this passage of Scripture. They serve as both testimony and charge to never give up on the good and positive things for which we ask the Lord. Whether it be improved health, healed relationships, new relationships, new employment, the ability to have children…whatever it is that we have been crying out to God for, we can NOT give up. We cannot give in to defeatism, doubt God’s ability and thus lose the battlefield of our minds, for we are more than conquerors. We must remember God is able to do what He has told us through His Word and others He will do. Look at Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Hannah, Jeremiah, and Elizabeth. Look at their persistence for inspiration.
Like I shared last week, we must keep praying, trusting, and acting. We must keep following the PTA no matter how many “No’s” receive. One “Yes” from God at the appointed time and place will transform all of those into one big “Not. Over.”
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for the message of persistence and faith, of never giving up on You and Your promises. Help us now to pray, trust, act, and watch the Enemy’s “No” become Your “Not Over”. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.