An Inconvenient Faith
Chan Gin Kai
Then Jesus told his disciples this parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up... However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? (Luke 18:1, 8)
Jesus wants us to pray, always. And he knows what people are prone to do... give up on prayer.
There are many reasons why we give up praying, and one of the biggest is a lack of faith. Faith is inconvenient.
An Inconvenient Faith
Prayer without faith is like small talk with acquaintances. Our thanksgivings are shallow when we don’t really feel our blessings are from God. Our confessions are discouraging when we don’t fully believe in God’s mercy. Our supplications are meaningless when we don’t fully trust that God hears us. It is hard to persevere in prayer when we do not have faith.
Jesus told a parable about a persistent widow’s unashamed pestering of an unjust judge (Luke 18:2-7). She could have had all the excuses to give up. Instead, she had that maverick, logic-defying perseverance.
It certainly wasn’t convenient for the widow. She had to go to the courts day after day. She faced the disappointment of rejection and the shame of ridicule. She faced more injustice for the sake of finding justice. She wasn’t deluded that it was going to be easy. But she braved the inconveniences because she believed she would ultimately succeed.
Anyone with some sanity or respect for others would have given up. But Jesus wants us to have this same stubborn determination that polite society frowns upon. To Jesus, this is faith.
Jesus’ admiration for people with such faith is apparent in his encounter with a Canaanite woman. She stubbornly refused to give up in her request even when Jesus tested her by taunting her. It left Jesus hugely impressed, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” (Mat 15:21-28)
Faith is being confident of what we do not see. It defies logic. It requires perseverance and the courage to ignore naysayers. It is inconvenient.
Perseverance in prayer is a reflection of our faith in Jesus. We will always pray if we truly believe in God. Don't stop believing, don't stop praying.
Inconvenient, But Worth It
The documentary film, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, is one of the watershed moments in the history of climate change awareness. It brought a very pertinent and poignant subject to global audiences and has inspired activism across the world. The inspiration for the title came about when the director, Davis Guggenheim, asked the presenter in the film, former USA Vice President Al Gore, why climate change was “so hard for people to grasp.” Gore replied, “Because it's an inconvenient truth, ya know.”
Gore is absolutely right on that; in fact, that is still an understatement. As consumers, we’ll need to make many inconvenient lifestyle changes. But that’s only skimming the surface; the fight against global warming requires radical engagement on every level — business models, work processes, technological advancements, political will, legislations, education, and more. Every step at every level will be inconvenient to say the least, but they’re imperative for a planet in peril.
Everything that is important and meaningful is inconvenient.
We went to school for years to get a certificate. We work hard to get a salary. Most get married, many have children. There’s nothing convenient about any of these. But we braved the inconvenience because we think they’re worth it.
Do we do the same for our spiritual life?
The truth may not please our ears, faith can be scary, hope can be disappointing and love can be painful. And there’s repentance, spreading the gospel, helping the poor, and more. Everything that is worthwhile is inconvenient.
Christianity is not a bed of roses. Jesus never promised that it’ll be easy, but warned that the road to life is narrow and hard (Matthew 7:13-14). Paul exhorted the Galatians to persevere in doing good because it’ll all be worthwhile.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Do we let the inconvenience stop us?
Jesus hopes to find faith on earth when he comes again. Are we determined to be among the faithful?
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves actively in the Central Christian Church and describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.