Will the Son of Man Find Faith on the Earth?

The real object of this parable—indeed of all of Scripture—is Jesus.

What can we learn from Paul’s writing today when our church leaders renounce their faith, when Christians chase after selfish gain, and when believers are enticed by the world and its ever-changing worldviews? Grieving is not enough. Nor is the quest against the culture of this world. All those attempts have failed miserably.

 

Fallen trees make me sad, especially those whose roots lose their grip while the rest of the tree is otherwise healthy and strong. Our family lives near the Rock Creek National Park that stretches from Washington, D.C. to Maryland. We walk its wooded trails almost daily, and I genuinely grieve when I see a tree uprooted after a storm.

Only recently have I realized that my sadness is a reflection of something deeper. The emotion evoked by fallen trees echoes my grief over all the people with whom I have walked the path of faith only to witness them fall away. 

They are many. Missionaries who first shared the gospel with me, leaders of our small church in Central Asia, and friends with whom I have sought the Lord in the midst of difficulties. I looked up to them. They provided comfort, encouragement, and support in my hardest times. When I see a fallen tree, I relive the grief of seeing friends, mentors, brothers, and sisters walk away from faith in the one true God. 

Why does it hurt so much to see someone renounce the faith? It certainly creates a sense of personal loss, but I grieve for more than broken fellowships.

I grieve for the loss of their relationship with Jesus.

Am I alone in this grief? Scripture claims the angels rejoice when a person repents from sin (Luke 15:10), but do they grieve when someone renounces the faith? There is no mention of it in the Bible. Regardless, in the Gospels, we read that Jesus grieved during his earthly ministry. He expressed deep sadness over faithless Israel, and he grieved over his faithless disciples.

A Parable of Persistence

The closing words of Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow recently struck me to my core, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8). I think of these words often, especially in light of recent news of high-profile Christians renouncing their faith.

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