Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 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? 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?”
The Persistent Teenager
“I need to get out of here.” ~ Every teenager. Ever.
In so many ways students are the persistent widow in Jesus’ story.
Generally powerless. Dependent on others for everything from food to transportation. They are consistently told to enjoy a period of life they can’t wait to pass through.
Generally misunderstood. All too often when adults listen they are filtering everything they hear through their own teenage memories. It’s hard to be taken seriously as a teenager.
Generally feel like a burden. In spoken and unspoken ways the adults in their life make them feel like they have negative value. Adults see their potential but sometimes struggle to release it. And in so many ways… teenagers are a burden because our society sets them up as consumers with no realistic ways to provide for themselves.
They are left on a tarmac of society and told to wait. Wait to be a real human.
Even if it’s not factually true that’s what they often perceive, anyway.
Power to the Angsty
But Jesus’ parable unleashes all of that angst. He’s the seat mate next to you on the bus whispering in your ear, “No one sees your power like I do. I’ll turn your frustration into power. Your persistence is charging a battery that’ll power your life forever. I see what you see. I’m upset about what you’re upset about. Together… we’ll do something about it.”
What’s the the thing a teenager has that adults don’t? They hear “You can’t do that” and it gets translated to “Yeah, you can’t do that… but I can.”
They lack all of the filters of protecting yourself that you use as an excuse, mislabeling a lack of faith and fear-based decision-making as “wisdom.”
That’s the way being powerless works. You don’t have power. Yet. But when you get it? Look out.
Teenagers, when they see that their persistence can create action, are unstoppably powerful. Unleash their potential and stand back in amazement.