The Parable of the Persistent Widow
18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’ ”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” 
Widow in the Scripture is code for “someone with nothing.” A widow had no husband or sons, and with them no land rights or ability to make a living. They were at a dead end. This is why Jesus consistently reached out to them as the poorest of the poor and makes them the hero of his stories. With one word he described a person of the utmost lowest class without the ability to rise. Not only this, but this position was not due to things under their control. They didn’t deserve to be in the position they were in. They were someone that any group of people could have sympathy for. That poor widow. This widow in particular is even more to be pitied than most. She has experience injustice.
Jesus doesn’t tell us what injustice she has experienced, just that there isn’t much question that it could be judged otherwise. Perhaps something was stolen from her…perhaps it was something else. This widow goes to get help from the only one with power to bring justice where it is so sorely missing. She goes to the judge.
The problem is this judge is not good at his job. He doesn’t want to bother with this woman’s claim, which has no financial reward for him. Jesus states twice that he isn’t concerned with God or others, so we can guess that he was in this business for the payoffs. This widow clearly couldn’t bribe him, so why would he bother with her?
But the woman keeps coming. Day after day she is there asking for justice. She pleads for justice. Each day she is sent away. Then the next morning, there she is again. Until finally the judge realizes she is not going to stop. He knows that her presence is absorbing his day and taking away from his business. So, he decides to grant her justice.
Jesus uses this story to remind people that persistent prayer in the face of injustice matters. That when we seek justice, we must be persistent. We must keep pressing even when our message doesn’t seem to be heard. Later, the Apostle Paul talks of persistence as a key part of our faith.
We are to persist. We are to seek justice. When justice is refused, we are to continue day after day to bring it before God.
There are many days that I am ready to give up. There are days when I no longer want to fight to be treated as equal. There are days when I want to stop defending people wronged by our culture. There are days when it seems that nothing I do matters.
Those are the days that I remember the persistent widow. When I remember Rosa Parks, Irene Sendler, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Malala Yousafzai. When I remember Dr. Martin Luther King and the Reformers of the church.
Those are the days when I pray for justice. Those are the days I persist. I weep over the sins of the world, and I pray, “How long, Lord?”
And God whispers, “Soon.”