My heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.Romans 10:1
Last Sunday I had the chance to speak at a church here in Willmar about ATLAS. After the service, a couple came up to me and introduced themselves. This couple was actually from out of state but happened to be there visiting. They said to me, “We just wanted to thank you for how ATLAS has helped our daughter.” As they shared who their daughter was, they went on to explain how they had been praying for her for such a long time. They were now just so grateful for the help and love their daughter received from her mentor and the better, narrow path she seems to be on.
I frequently get calls from parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, or friends asking if I will meet with their loved one who is struggling. My heart breaks for them as I too have loved ones I long to see believe in Jesus Christ. In the past two weeks, I’ve talked with a mother desperate for her son to turn from sin and surrender to Christ. I’ve also talked with a sister trying to help her brother salvage his marriage and overcome an abusive past.
The Apostle Paul also experienced the grief of having people close to him who did not believe in Jesus Christ. In Romans 9:2-3, he writes, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Paul’s love for his fellow Jews gives us a path to follow with those we love who have not yet believed:
- Trust God in His sovereignty with their salvation, acknowledging that it “depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy,” (Rom. 9:16)
- Pray to God for their salvation. He writes that “my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” (Rom. 10:1), and,
- Find ways to share the gospel with them since “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Rom. 10:17).
We all want the best for our loved ones. When you experienced the goodness of God in your own life, you want others to experience it as well, especially those closest to you. But it can be a long, painful road when they don’t. The couple I spoke with last Sunday encouraged me and reminded me that there is hope. God is good and he knows what he’s doing. We can trust, pray, and share with those we love from a place of faith in God’s ability instead of from a place of fear in our own inabilities.
Lord, I have loved ones personally that I long to see you save and ask you to do just that – to save them. I acknowledge that if my loved ones’ salvation depended either on me, on them, or any other human, Lord, I would be without hope. Because it depends on you and you are merciful to sinners, Lord, I therefore ask for opportunities, boldness and love to share your gospel with them. And if not me Lord, please send another to share your Word. But whatever your will, I praise you that “salvation is found in no one else” but you (Acts 4:12). I praise you that my loved ones’ lives are ultimately in your hands because you above all else can be trusted with their lives. Remind me when I doubt and worry that you are good and you are in control. Amen.