I was three years old and she decided to take me shopping with her, with the promise of a balloon at the end of the trip. Well, as often happens in New York City, the shopping trip took a lot longer than a three-year-old could handle. I started begging for my balloon softly at first, until it turned into a full-on tantrum in midtown Manhattan. My poor aunt ended up darting from store to store, carrying a wailing child, begging for someone, anyone, to sell her a balloon.
My aunt loves telling this story, and I love to hear her tell it. She closes her eyes, tilts her head back and smiles as she recounts that day. I often wonder what the people in the shops thought as they saw my persistent aunt running around with a howling toddler in search of a balloon. How uncomfortable that must’ve been for them, but my aunt always tells this story with so much affection. I think it’s because she loves me so much that a story of a tantrum would bring her such joy.
The Widow and the Judge
Jesus once told a story of a widow who was denied justice. She went to the judge in her town to ask for protection and to demand her rights. The judge, however, didn’t pay attention to her, because the Bible says that he didn’t care about God or about the people of the town. However, the widow persistently kept at it, bothering the judge day and night until the judge relented and gave her the justice she deserved.
I often wonder about the people who witness the widow’s persistent badgering of the judge. They must’ve thought she was annoying, that she should do things the “right” way, that she should be quiet and not make so much noise. But I think that in telling this story, Jesus was acknowledging that the work of justice is messy and can make other people uncomfortable. And perhaps, like my aunt, when God sees his children fighting for justice (even if it makes others uncomfortable), he closes his eyes, tilts his head back and smiles.
Then the Master said, “Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?” (Luke 18:6-8, The Message)
Jael Amador writes from New York.
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