“Whom in your life do you believe, deep down, will never give their life to God?”
I turned off the engine, dropped keys into my purse, and slid out on the driver’s side. I left the car behind as I crossed the parking lot, but the question hung on. The pastor on the radio had posed it during his weekly 30-second devotional.
To paraphrase his longer question, who would shock our socks off if they ever left their current life and exchanged it for life through Jesus? We all know, and often love, people who either don’t give God the time or day, or they spend time shaking their fists in His face.
They’ll never become a Christian.
Ooops, did I just say that out loud? Nope, but if we’re honest, we’ve thought it about the person we’re picturing. Probably a lot.
Sure, we claim that we believe in God’s power to draw people to Him. But we know, too, that He allows free will and choice.
The question that came through the radio challenged me. Do I give up praying too quickly and assume their choice is final?
You can bet no one dreamed that Saul would change. Remember his murderous campaign on Christians?
Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains. Acts 9:1-2 (NLT)
Saul thundered throughout the land, chasing down terrified Christians. Yet God did change his heart, his life–and through him, the world. But Ananias even debated with God Himself, doubting Saul’s (now Paul’s) transformation when God gave him the news. God’s power in Paul’s life sent shock waves throughout the infant Christian community.
We’d do well to think twice before giving up on someone. Let’s think of it this way: If Paul could sit down with us today and talk about God’s power to change a person (and his gratitude that He did just that), do you think he’d challenge us to keep praying for people we’re sure will never change? Yes, that’s a rhetorical question. =)
Or, let’s pretend for grins. Say you had made different choices before now or had found yourself in life-altering circumstances. Say you weren’t a Christian yet–maybe far, far from it. Knowing what you know now with your life in Christ, would you hope that someone would keep praying, keep reaching out to you?