I receive newsletters every month from Global Scholars professors serving all over the world. It is always an encouragement to read how God is showing up and how they trust Him in every circumstance.
Paul and Pauline, who have served with Global Scholars for over 20 years, shared this insight from Uganda as they pray about an administrative decision that affects their role and opportunities at their university.
They write (highlights added)…
Luke 18:1-8: This passage relates how a widow experiencing unjust treatment finally managed to gain justice from a judge who was at first unwilling to address her issue. Jesus’ point was that persistence pays off, even in prayer, although the Lord is not at all reluctant to hear us and tend to our needs as that judge was.
In the illustration, the widow was asking the right person to resolve a matter of justice, not seeking selfish gain or even her daily needs. It is understandable when we don’t see the Lord answer our selfish demands (James 4:3), but what about other times, especially when we are sure that we are asking in line with His intention?
We must remember that the people we may pray for still have their own will, by the Lord’s design, and so He restricts Himself to their decision. And sometimes He needs to get things ready at one end or the other. In addition, His delay may be an impetus to faith and a deeper walk with Him.
In a way, as with His seeming non-answer to Mary and Martha’s urgent plea to heal Lazarus, the Lord sometimes entrusts us with a role in His will, wanting us to just trust Him when things are not at all working out as we think they should. In the end, Mary and Martha’s suffering contributed to an amazing miracle that convinced many of the Jewish leaders to believe in Jesus, and it may have been their last real challenge to faith since it occurred not long before His final sacrifice.
And so we too wait to see in what miraculous way the Lord is going to work out our situation here.
I so appreciate Paul and Pauline’s reminder to pray persistently, while remembering we can’t override other people’s wills by our prayers. (J. P. Moreland and I discuss this point further on our recent Thinking Christianly podcast “Why Pray?”) Paul and Pauline’s observation that God might want us to be a part of the solution to the problem we are praying about is an important reminder as well!
Please pray for Paul and Pauline and the other professors worldwide whom we equip to share the love, truth, and grace of Christ with their students, colleagues, and academic disciplines. And thank you for the crucial role you play in “equip[ping] the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
In an episode of the College Faith podcast, I discuss Thriving as a Christian in a Secular University with Dr. Christy Moran Craft, professor and interim department chair in the College of Education at Kansas State University.
In a recent episode of the Thinking Christianly podcast, JP Moreland, Jordan Plank and I discuss “Why Pray?” We tackle the hard questions, similar to the ones Paul and Pauline write about above.