2022-4-03 “The Tonic for Loss of Heart”

Cornerstone EPC                                                                                           Sunday morning
Franklin, NC 28734                                                                                       April 3, 2022

The Tonic for Loss of Heart”
Luke 18:1-8

Even with all the fortification we have received lately from God’s Word in this pulpit, it remains difficult sometimes to avoid losing heart. We look at the state of our world and nation; nations conflict with one another and divides threaten to rip the fabric that is our nation. We look at the state of Christ’s Church on earth, and, while we rejoice at her supernatural spread in Africa and in Latin America, to name but two, we lament her decline in our own land. We look at the state of our providential circumstances, and that look may reveal us to be in lower straits than we prefer. We note the state of our bodies, and we may lament loss of strength, function, beauty, or the like. Finally, we note the state of our souls—and, if we be honest with ourselves, then we may find ourselves spiritually malnourished and behaviorally out of accord with God’s will for our lives.

What, or what else, can avail to help us today? Today, the task is the antidote for such a lamentable state. Let’s turn to that task, as we hear God’s Word read and proclaimed once again in this place.


There are few purpose statements for a Scripture more explicit than ours today. Note verse one: “And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” Then Jesus tells the parable itself. He introduces a judge to his hearers, both then and now—a judge, alas, all too familiar both then and now. This judge fears not God. He worships not the Lord, never consults with Him, and pays Him no regard. Furthermore, this judge respects not man. He consigns people, one and all, to low status—a status far beneath himself. This, alas, is the judge with whom Jesus’ second character has to do.

He next introduces a widow. In the time and culture of the New Testament, a widow had a miserable and lowly existence. Not only must she weather her ongoing grief over the death of her husband, but also she stood both defenseless against predatory people and despised in the public sphere—especially in this unjust judge’s court. This widow presses a single plea upon this judge, namely, “Give me justice against my adversary.” Moreover, she kept pressing this plea in the face of repeated rejection and frustration at this judge’s hands. This repeated press for justice, even after repeated denial, moves the unjust judge to muse, and to act. Let’s see what he thinks and what he does.

The judge continues to own the fact—and seems pleased with it—that he neither fears God nor respects man. Yet he grants judgment in favor of the woman—apparently, a righteous judgment from an unrighteous judge. How came this favoring providence to pass toward this widow? It came, assuredly, not on the basis of proper jurisprudence. The judge invoked no legal precedent, and he applied not the facts of the case to the relevant law. This favorable judgment came to this widow solely on the basis of expediency for the judge—motivated by importunity from her. He wanted his rest, and he wanted her gone. Hence, he gave her desired verdict.

Now hear Jesus apply the parable. He implores us, “Hear the unjust judge.” Indeed, hear this unjust judge, who granted favorable judgment to the widow solely on the two-fold basis of her importunity and his convenience. Now consider the infinitely righteous Judge, our triune God, Who gives to His importuning ones—the likes of us—whatever is right, and that without needless delay. He gives what is right, at the time, moreover, perfectly, infinitely wise judgment. How much better is the Judge of all the earth, Who never fails to do right (cf. Genesis 18:25), than this unjust judge? And, if the unjust judge gives a right judgment from a wrong principle, how much more will our God, the infinitely righteous Judge, grant a righteous judgment for His own from righteous motives?

There remains one question seeking answer, and Jesus leaves us with it, namely, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Will he find faith in Him burning at least to the degree that the widow’s desire for a favorable verdict burned within her? Will He find such faith in us, though He—according to His sovereign pleasure—may tarry long in coming? Hope deferred, after all, makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12)—and it can lead to decreased faith in and fervor for God as well. Will He find His elect shouting unto Him day and night for what is right at His coming? This is the question left with us. What shall our answer be?

Recall the parable of the midnight visitor (Luke 11:5-8, with application 9-13), where the midnight visitor gets what he needs because he asks importunately—even audaciously—based upon his perceived need. Such prayer, enjoined in today’s text, is the task of the hour—and, once again, the task is the antidote against the things that tempt us to lose heart. Therefore, let us pray with importunity.

Let us pray, day and night—even with shouting, as the Lord leads. Let us pray about all that is wrong in our world and nation. Let us pray about all that is wrong in Christ’s Church on earth. Let us pray about all that is wrong in our circumstance, and let us pray about all that is wrong in our souls. May the Lord sustain us, and renew our hope in Him, as we pray thus unto Him—and may we, by His grace, have what we ask of Him.