Neither one of my children are walking with the Lord. As young children still living in the home they went to church, they went on youth retreats, they did everything that church children do. But, as they got older they grew away from the church and eventually Christ. It has been my daily prayer that my children would come back to Jesus and that they would see Him for who is, and who He desires to be for them. But, the decision is still theirs. I can ask them to church, pray for them, and live a life before them that reflects Jesus, but still they have to make the choice to follow Him on their own. This has been a constant cry of my heart before the Lord, to save them, to draw them, to bring them back to a relationship with Him.
In the past few months, I have begun to see the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of my children. First, it came with my son’s fiancé. She began coming to church with us, asked me for a Bible and then she started coming to Bible Study with me. Now, she is a new believer in Christ and we are excited to have her in our spiritual family as well as our earthly family. She is reading the Bible to my son, talking to him about what she is learning and he has even come along to church with us. He is not there yet, but he is more open to returning now than he ever was before. I have hope.
Yesterday, after over a year of my daughter refusing to come to church, let alone have any desire to hear the name of Christ in her presence, she and her boyfriend came to church with us. At first, my daughter was against it. In fact, she became so angry with me and my husband for even asking if she wanted to come. Her boyfriend, however, he was interested and said he would like to come along. This made my daughter pretty mad, so she stormed into the house, yelling at the top of her lungs, “Hallelujah! I’m going to church! I’m saved!” All he said to her was that he was going with or without her, which of course made her mad. But, she did go to church. Her reasoning for not wanting to go to church was that the last time she went she was judged, and she is not going to put herself in a situation where she is judged like that again. (Unfortunately, she had a bad experience with some peers in her last youth group, which caused her to run from the church, refusing to ever return.)
As I was praying for my daughter this morning, she came to me and said that she wants to go to church with us again next Sunday. Her and her boyfriend enjoyed it, loved the teaching and wanted to go again. I must tell you this was an answer to my prayers, I didn’t know what to say, do or think, so I replied, “Good, I am glad you enjoyed it.” She and my son have been against “Organized religion” as they call it, and felt that church was just full of hypocrites and judgmental people. Yesterday, however, I believe the Lord spoke to my daughter’s heart and began to break through the walls she had built. This has been a daily prayer of mine for the Lord God to break down these walls they have built up. After many prayers I am beginning to see the cracks in the walls.
“I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick;” Ezekiel 34:14
The Lord God is our Shepherd. He seeks those that are lost, those that have been driven away He searches for them; He never gives up on them. He will keep searching until they have been brought back into the fold. Others may think that the Lord is not working because they do not see the results. But we have to have faith in His word. He tells us in Isaiah 61 that He has come to “preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent (Him- Jesus) to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;” (Isaiah 61:1-2)
My children have built up walls. They have been hurt by others and have chosen to turn away from God for their own reasons. But, I have hope, I have a promise from God that He is constantly seeking them out. He does not give up on them, even though they may have given up on Him. He never lets them go. He knows them, He sees them, and His desire for them is the same as mine is- to see them saved and living a life eternal with Him.
How the Lord goes about bringing them to Him is not for me to judge, question or put my two cents in. How He draws them, how He breaks down the walls of their hearts is not for me or anyone else to know. It is between Him and them. We love our unsaved family members; we want to see them come to Christ. But we have to be careful not to force Christ upon them. How and when they come to Christ is between them and God. If you would have told me a year ago that my son would be listening to his fiancé talk to him about Jesus, I would have laughed. But the way the Lord God drew me to Him is not the same way He drew you. If you would have told me that my daughter’s boyfriend would have been the one to get her to come back to church, I would have called you a liar.
My point is this, and I hope it encourages any and all who read this today. The Lord God knows His sheep. They may be wandering sheep, they may not even know they are His sheep- but He knows them, and He is diligently pursuing them. And, if we believe that our God is who He says He is- He never loses His sheep. God can reach into the darkest of hearts, He can scatter the walls that we build up and He can rebuild in us a heart that seeks after Him. He is the God who created everything from a simple word, He is the same God who can speak into the hearts of anyone and draw them to Him.
I have hope in God. It is not what I do or what I say that will change the hearts of those I love and want to see saved. It is God alone, working by the power of the Holy Spirit to draw His lost sheep to Himself. He is my Shepherd, and He is their Shepherd too. I am a simple sheep, living before my loved ones as Christ would have me to live. All we need to be is sheep; our True Shepherd will do the rest. I pray that you would be encouraged to keep praying for those whom you love who have not given their lives to Christ. Pray that the Lord would break down the walls they have built and shine the light of His glorious grace into their hearts. It is through Him alone that they will see His glory and their need for Jesus Christ, our Savior and True Shepherd. To Him be the glory, forever and ever, Amen.