(I discussed the story of Abdi and his experience in securing one of the rare visas to the United States. Click here to listen to that episode of PBS's This American Life program.)
The wrestling match for Jacob one night at the Jabbok River, taking on a mysterious opponent, results in a night-long struggle fought to a draw. Neither one could gain the advantage. Even though Jacob was badly injured, suffering damage that would afflict him for the rest of his life, he held on tenaciously. Jacob must have been convinced that there was a blessing to be realized. Enduring through the night toward daybreak, Jacob's relentless pressure reveals the blessing for his perseverance.
Jesus' story to begin Luke 18 is about a cranky, demanding widow and a self-centered judge with a disdain for justice. The contentious widow is a familiar type (male or female) who simply wants what they want and will make themselves a royal pain in order to obtain it. The unjust judge, who doesn't really care about people or justice or God or anything else, thinks that his summary dismissal of the widow's case will dispatch her conclusively. Wrong. She is relentless in her pursuit of what she seeks. Does he cave in?
God already blesses us richly, but deep, transformative, miraculous blessings often demand a relentless faith that is unyielding in its determination to slog through the long haul. That's why Jesus asks at the end of his story about the widow and the judge, When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?
Get the whole story in the sermon video below, plus the downloads available below the video panel.