Sometimes our modern sensibilities are a bit off.
You shuffle into the kitchen and flip on the light switch. Yawn.
Shake a few lumps of coffee grounds into the pot instead of on the countertop this time. Cream cheese a bagel. Check your Instagram newsfeed. Pour a cup of hot brew. Kick off your slippers and slide into Toms, cast a second glance toward the mirror at that sprig you’ve featured on your forehead, and cruise out of the garage for work.
If your life as a Christian is perfectly sensible, God might be disappointed you’re not more annoying.
Jesus told his disciples a parable of an unjust judge to convince them to pray and not give up. A widow kept coming to the judge — who didn’t care about God or people — begging him for justice.
He refused for a long time. After a while he thought, “I don’t care about anyone, but I’m going to give this woman what she wants so she doesn’t wear me out!”
Then Jesus leaned in and told his followers the secret — listen to the unjust judge. God will give his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night, justice. Quickly. He won’t keep putting them off. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
Did you catch the point?
This woman has nothing going for her. She doesn’t have a husband. She doesn’t have a clue. She doesn’t even have a driver’s license to back her Caddy off the driveway and over the neighbor’s cat. The only thing going for her is she is painfully annoying.
And Jesus wants you to be like her.
I love this passage, because God gives you permission to annoy the heck out of him. Maybe kids who go back and forth between Mom and Dad are on to something. You can go back and forth between Jesus and the Father all you want.
Because God wants you to annoy him.
And unlike the judge in the story, he likes being bothered. He sounds a lot more like a Dad, really. And what do you hope your son does when he needs something? Come and ask you and not Mom.
But here’s the thing.
You don’t hope he comes and asks because you want to give it to him, although you do — because you’re nice. You hope he comes and asks because you want to catch his eye before he bounds off to the toy bin. You want to be the one he has to tell. You want to scoop up that little fuzzball, sneak a sniff of his hair, and clutch him a little longer than he was hoping.
God isn’t in question in the story. He’s a Daddy who hopes you interrupt him while he plans a His Spirit movement in the Mid-East or fiddles with a gulf stream in the Mid-Atlantic.
His character is certain. God’s the perfect Daddy.
But something is in question. You.
Do you pray and not give up?
Everyone has pain. Every person can’t get out of a chair without his back hurting or climb a flight of stairs without her hip flaring up. Or pass by the old house without missing the spouse that’s gone.
Everyone has reasons to bang down the judge’s door until their knuckles bleed.
But they don’t.
Most people turn to drugs or alcohol or meds or relationships or soaps or carbs or spin class or piles and piles of nonsense at work as an excuse to quit. Give up on their dreams. Their not-yet-foreseeable tomorrows. Their justice.
Most walk briskly away from the judge who doesn’t greet them with a smile or the future that doesn’t meet them with success.
Are you willing to be as crotchety as an old woman with nothing to lose but a chance at the neighbor’s flower bed?
You know, the old hag could’ve gone home. The judge could’ve opened his door at the end of a long day to nothing but silence. Plenty of people begged him for favors. None stayed. Only one was bold enough to accost him in the parking lot.
I wonder how many times God finds the same thing.
What do you do in your pain? Do you head to the coffee pot for one more pour of upper to ease the letdown? Do you quit? When a Father who wants nothing more than to scoop you up, drink in the smell of your hair and skin, and hold you watches as you down the dreams he’s had for you since childhood in six ounces.
I know you love him. He loves you, too.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find annoying on the earth?
This time, and only this time, you don’t have to be like Jesus. Oh no — don’t let me set the bar too high. You don’t have to be like that.
This time you just have to be like an annoying old bag of bones without a clue, without a hope — only a prayer — and, if she’s ornery enough not to give up, an outside chance of getting her license back for one more close call with the neighbor’s cat.