By Billy Cole
In Luke chapter eighteen, verse one, it says
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; (Luke 18:1)
God doesn’t want you to get discouraged; He just wants you to talk to Him. If you won’t talk to Him when everything is all right, He will iet a few things go wrong so that you will talk to Him.
Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luk 18:2-8)
He will avenge them speedily. Verse seven and eight seems like a contradiction, but it is not.
During World War II, buildings were crumbling to the ground, bombs were falling everywhere, planes were flying over with the Nazi insignia on them and the people were absolutely terrified and devastated. Their lives were being turned upside down. They could hear their babies screaming. They rushed to their families trying to bring a little comfort to them during this horrible war. But rather than things getting better they got worse. There was a new invention called the “buzz-bomb”. They did not see the weapons or planes that fired them. It brought even greater terror. There was one man who seemed to help the situation a great deal. Often he would stand in the rubble of the buildings and speak to the people. He would speak on the radio and in the streets. He would speak everywhere and inspire the people to fight on. You know the outcome of that situation. England was not crushed or destroyed. Nazism was put in its place. As a result, Sir Winston Churchill, who was Prime Minister became a great hero. After the war if you wanted him to come and speak at some important function, you would have to engage him at least three years in advance because he was so popular. Oxford University had done that very thing. Three years had passed and now the occasion had come. They rented the largest auditorium in the city.
It was packed wall to wall with the graduates and parents. There was standing room only. Sir Winston was dressed in the honorary robes of the university as he sat on the platform. The president of the university walked to the podium – he was so delighted that Sir Winston was there that he took twenty minutes to introduce him. Then, Sir Winston came to the podium to begin his speech. He simply lifted his left hand and made this statement, “Never give up.” Then he stepped back from the podium. There was a light applause. Then he stepped to the podium again. He lifted his right hand and again he said, “Never give up.” And he stepped back the second time.
This time the applause was louder and longer. Then for the third time he stepped to the podium and lifted both hands and clenched his fist and shouted, “Never give up!” Then he stepped back turned around and sat down. They stood and gave the longest standing ovation in the history of that university.
The president was a little disappointed. He turned and said, “Is that all you are going to say?”
Then he made another profound statement, he said, “That is all they need to hear.”
That is what I want to say to you – Never give up! Never give up!
That is what Jesus is trying to say to us in this parable; never give up. There are so many situations that come against us and the enemy would discourage us, frighten us and frustrate us. But if a person never gives up, God will see them through. We have to remember that He that is within us is greater than he that is in the world. You will be tried. If you are not being tried today you may be tried tomorrow or next week or next month. But if the Lord tarries, you can count on it; you are going to be tried. My advice to you is: Never give up. Hold on to God. God will see you through.
Jesus could have chosen any number of stories to make the point that He wanted to make, but He chose a situation of impossibility. It would be very difficult today in our society but it was absolutely impossible in the culture that Jesus Christ was living in. There was this political judge that was unholy. He was not a believer. He said with his own mouth that he had no regard for man whatsoever. He did not care what a man said or what the public thought. He was interested in one thing and that was, how much money you could put on the table. How much was he going to get out of it? What could you do for him? He was not merciful.
Then Jesus turns the coin over and shows us a picture of a widow woman. Widow women today are not quite as helpless as they used to be. There are so many things to help them. There is HUD to help pay their rent and food stamps to help buy their food. There are all kinds of social services that will take care of the kid’s teeth and clothing and so forth. Not so in those days. There were no human services in those days. There was no HUD. There was no medical service. There was nothing to help. In those days a woman did not have one single day of education. There was not a woman in the nation that could read or write her own name. That is not true today. Women can take jobs anywhere and our society is beginning to learn that they are going to have to be paid equal wages. It was not so in the time of Christ. They were totally dependent on a father or a husband. If they did not have a father or a husband they were absolutely helpless. There was nothing they could do. So Jesus has painted a picture here of a wicked, ungodly, unrighteous, evil, unmerciful, uncompassionate judge and a little woman that has no prestige whatsoever in the city. There is no way that he would want to help her. There is no way she could do anything for him. He was not interested in helping her at all.
But there was something within her that got results and that was; she would not quit. She would never give up. She kept on pursuing him. That old boy had to go home sometime. He may have hung around late trying to get rid of her, but she would be right on his heels when he would come out the door. She might not have gotten into his office or into the sanctuary in order to get her petition before the judge, but he had to go home sometime. She would be right on his heels telling him her petition. Finally one day he turned around and said, “I don’t believe in God and I have no regard for man whatsoever, but lest you weary me to death, I am going to give you what you want.”
Then Jesus turns around and says, “If a wicked, unmerciful, unholy judge will answer a prayer like that, how much more will your heavenly father hear the prayer of his own children?”
Let me tell you, God will hear your prayer! He may answer your prayer and you not even know it is answered. He has very unique ways of answering sometimes. Sometimes God has already answered us and we don’t even think He has heard us.
One time Sister Helen Cole got a burden in church one night. She said, “Please pray for my brother. He is a millionaire and he doesn’t live for God. You can’t talk to him about God.” We really prayed. A tremendous burden of intersession came upon me and we prayed. Two days later she got the news that he had had a massive coronary heart attack. Then she cried again in church and said, Pray. God is not answering our prayer.”
I said, “Wait a minute.” I stopped her right in church. “Wait a minute. God knows what it will take to make him pray and you asked us to pray that he would pray. God has just hit him with a sledgehammer to get his attention.” The end of that story is that before he ever left intensive care he was talking in tongues as the Spirit of God gives the utterance. God had to hit him and hit him hard, but her prayer was answered. Many times God answers your prayer and you don’t even know it.
There is one thing that God responds to and that is faith. God cannot resist faith. He can resist doubt. He can resist a lot of things but He cannot resist faith.
If you look in your heart and say, “God, I know You ain’t gonna do it!” He’ll answer that prayer too � He won’t dolt. He cannot do it. He is bound to His word that He will respond to faith.
One time Jesus was ministering to the people healing the sick. A servant of an Italian captain came along and said, “My centurion has a servant that is very sick.”
The disciples began to plead the centurion’s case; “He is a good man. He built a synagogue for the Jews and is a good man and a kind man.”
Jesus responded to the centurion’s request and went to his house. When the centurion saw Him he came running out and said, “I am not worthy for you to even enter into my house, but all you have to do is just say the word and my servant will be healed.” This centurion gave the perfect, beautiful interpretation of what faith is; it’s simply accepting the authority of God; it cannot be perverted; it cannot be frustrated. He said, “I am a captain. I am a man of authority and I say to my servants to go and they will go. I tell them to come and they will come. Lord, all You have to do is just say the word.”
Jesus turned to His disciples and said, “I have not seen such faith in all of Israel.” And He healed that servant. He never went into the house but He healed that servant.
On another occasion, Jesus was ministering and the disciples were working with Him and helping Him and a Syro-Phoenician woman came by. She said, “Lord, heal my daughter that is vexed with a spirit. She has a devil and she casts herself down in convulsions. I want You to heal her.”
Jesus didn’t pay her any attention. I wonder what would happen to a preacher today if they said something to him and he would ignore them; just turn his head and ignore them. You talk about the phone lines tomorrow. The phone companies would have to put up a whole new set of lines; they would burn them down – the wires would be so hot. But Jesus ignored her.
The disciples figured that out so they went to her and said, “Don’t bother Jesus; He wants nothing to do with you. Can’t you see? He doesn’t want to be bothered by you.”
I wonder what would happen if someone came into the foyer of a church and the deacons said, “We don’t want your kind here.”
Oh, I know what they would do, they would say, “Oh that’s alright. I know you don’t want me here, but I want to come in. I know God is going to be here and I know God is going to do something for me.” Is that the way it would be? Oh no. They would burn rubber for one hundred yards!
They said, “Leave Jesus alone.” Well she wasn’t going to leave Him alone.
Jesus turned to her and said; “Now what I am doing is for the sheep, not for the dogs.” Jesus called her a dog! Preacher man, you had better not do that nowadays. That is one thing Jesus did that you better not try. Did you read in the Newsweek the other day where a preacher called one of his members a devil? She sued him for fifty thousand dollars and got it, and proved that she was a devil (he laughs). She may be a devil but don’t you say it.
Jesus called her a dog and she said, “Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table.”
Jesus turned to her and said, “Woman, I have never seen such faith!” And God healed her.
Now this is what I want you to notice. The Syro-Phoenician woman and the centurion were both Gentiles. They were not Jews and it was not in the plan of God to do anything for Gentiles until the tenth chapter of Acts. But because of their faith God turned His plans upside down and healed them. If your heart will be purified with pure faith, God will turn heaven and earth upside down for you.
God is grieved by our unbelief. Consecration is important. Consecration is going to get you to heaven but it is not going to cause your prayers to be answered. You can dress perfectly. You can do everything in holiness exactly the way God wants you to do it, but that will not cause your prayers to be answered. Sometimes a prostitute will walk in, perhaps the most wicked person in town, and repent and receive the Holy Ghost in two minutes. Why? – Because of faith. Faith is what causes God to answer prayer.
“Brother Cole, I didn’t get what I asked for.” That doesn’t mean you’re not consecrated.
“Brother Cole, I got it in ten seconds.” That doesn’t mean you’re living right. That means you had faith. God honored your faith.
When I read the word of God, I believe it. The scripture says that when Jesus walked up to the tomb of Lazarus, He said, “Lazarus, come forth.” And Lazarus came forth. The disciples had to take the grave clothes off of him and get him loose. He was still bound, but he came to life.
“Why do you believe that, Brother Cole?” Because the Bible says it – and that is good enough for me. The scripture says that the Lord is going to come and receive His church. There is going to be a great rapture take place and a great resurrection. The resurrection is going to happen first and then the rapture is going to take place.
If you can believe some miracle that happened two thousand years ago just because it is in the Bible, and you believe that the dead are going to come out of their tombs, you ought to believe God for the little problems that you have today. God is able to do it.
If an unjust judge would yield to a little woman that was helpless, just because she was persistent, you can count on God your Father, answering you His child, for your petition. When He answers a prayer it will be for your best benefit. God has always got your benefit in mind. Sometimes we think we know what is best for us and we don’t. I know there has been times that if the Lord had given me what I asked for, I’d already be gone. We ask for things that are not in the will of God and He in His grace and mercy takes that into consideration. It is always good to pray for the will of God.
The scripture says, `though he bear long with them…’, then in the next verse it says `I’ll do it speedily’. It seems to me like a contradiction, in one verse He says, `I’m going to bear long with you’ and in the next verse he says, `I’m going to do it speedily’. I believe there is an answer to that. It means that God is going to wait in His own good time. God has His own timing. Don’t you think, `God I want You to do so-and-so and I want You to do it right now!’ He’ll say, `Go jump in a river’. One little sister said, `Lord, give me patience and do it right now!’
The scripture says that tribulation worketh patience. He will answer that prayer but it will take a while. Don’t go praying for patience; just have it. Don’t pray for it or you will go through the heat up to your ears. It is better just to have it.
The Lord has His own timing and we have to be willing to submit ourselves to God’s timing. Let the world do whatever it pleases; I’m not going to give up. You know the Lord has waited a long time for the rapture to take place but when it takes place, how long is it going to take Him to do it? Just like the snap of your finger. Just at the blink of an eye. He has waited 2,000 years but when He does it He will do it suddenly. This old world and this universe were in existence for a long time; but how long did He take to do it? He just spoke it into existence. He may have waited billions of years; I don’t know; but when He did it – Barn!
How about Israel? The Lord waited for them 400 years. Then when He got ready to set them free, 6,000,000 people walked through the Red Sea in one night. It was symbolic of baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. You and I are praying for revival. What does it mean? It means that we are going to hang on and one of these days God is going to say; `This is it; Pow!’ And He is going to do it. Because when God does it in that fashion, no man will be able to take the glory. God will be glorified. God is not going to give His glory to a man. God is going to receive His own glory.
Israel was in captivity and bondage in the Babylonian Empire. Jerusalem was destroyed. The walls were torn to the ground and there were only three members of the church left. Everybody else had backslidden. There were only three members left and they were going to kill them. The very next day there was a decree that went out that nobody in the whole universe was going to worship anyone but Jehovah. In one day’s time the church went from three members to the whole world.
Though He waits a long time when He gets ready to do it; bang.
If God wants to do something for you; believe. I am a believer. We can have the real Apostolic power and we do have the real Apostolic power. I think we are worthy of the name Apostolic. We have seen apostolic demonstration in our midst. It is no longer just a name, but it is a reality among us. Let us keep it that way.
“Brother Cole, you need to broaden the door; make it a little wider.” Well, I can’t make it any wider than the Bible makes it. Narrow is the path and broad is the way. Did you notice it is called a path? And broad is the way, it calls it `a way’. We do preach it a little narrow but we don’t make it impossible. If you want to live for God you can live for God.
This article “Understanding God’s Way” written by Billy Cole is excerpted from Teachings By Billy Cole compiled by Arthur “Skip” Lefler.