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The reward of being shameless

“Fortune favours the brave,” said Virgil. And the Bible does not disagree, apart from the word ‘fortune’, which does not fit hand-in-glove with its teaching on the sovereignty of God. But reward for the brave is a snug fit.

In Jesus’ story about the man who knocked on his neighbour’s door at midnight (Luke 11:5-8), Virgil’s dictum is loud and clear. And illustrated in a way that must have brought a smile to the face of those who first heard Jesus tell the story. It’s the middle of the night. The neighbour’s kids are asleep. And any parent, who’s finally got their kids to sleep, would feel their nerves jangling at the thought of someone knocking loudly on the door late at night. And for what? Is he bleeding? Has he just chopped off his finger? Does he need to get to the hospital quickly? Bread?! He just wants a few loaves of bread to give to a friend of his who’s just turned up. Some nerve! Have you no shame?!

And that’s precisely the point. We’re allowed to come to God with that sort of nerve. The actual word used in the Bible (v8) is one that means the opposite of decency. Some translate it ‘persistence’, but that’s too lame and off-track. Some translate it ‘shameless audacity’, but that’s too strong. ‘Shamelessness’ gets it just about right to convey the challenge that our Father would love his children to ask with a little more confidence and ambition.

Thou art coming to a King.

                Large petitions with thee bring.

                For His grace and power are such.

                None can ever ask too much.

DM 2nd April 2014

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