Friday, January 20, 2017

Don't Give Up

Do you ever just feel like giving up on people? Like, however much you pray, they stay the same, so "just forget about it"? 
 I've felt like this lately. Like, I've been praying, and praying, and praying for these certain people, but they don't seem to have changed. I've been praying for them for years, and ... nothing. 
 Now, deep down, I know God's listening. I know He hears. Sometimes, though, doesn't it feel as if our cries are falling on deaf ears? 
 Then, during my family's daily devotions together, I heard a story from the Bible I didn't remember hearing before. It was in the book of 2 Chronicles, in between different accounts of the good and evil kings of Israel.  It was the story of one of the kings of Israel, Manasseh, and the first part of chapter 33 is full of all the bad things he did... worship idols, sacrifice his children, put up altars to other gods in the temple of the Lord, practice witchcraft... terrible things. If he was my king during this time period, I have to admit, I'd probably be praying more for him to be dethroned than I would be for his salvation. Manasseh'd probably the last person I'd think who could ever change. 
 But then something amazing happened. God used an Assyrian invasion and time spent in captivity to turn Manasseh's heart to Him. Eventually, Manasseh was able to go back to his home country, a king once again. However, he wasn't the same king who'd left. This time, Manasseh was a different ruler. According to the Bible, "He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel.  The people, however, continued to sacrifice at the high places, but only to the Lord their God." 

Who would've thought that a heart so far away from God as Manasseh's had been could ever be turned back? Sad to say, I'm afraid I'd have given up on Manasseh. Our God isn't like that, though. He can turn tragedy into triumph and bring good out of bad. When you are discouraged or let down about others, remember- God's got them. Pray without ceasing, because even though you my not be able to see it at the moment, God can still work in the lives of those you are praying for, in ways you may not be able to imagine. Maybe He already has. 
 Another example of the power of persistent prayer- my dad. A tragic circumstance in his life turned him away from the God he'd grown up hearing about. My grandmother, though,  was a real prayer warrior. She would get up at early hours of the morning, while everyone else was still in bed, and pray. And that's what she did for my dad- she prayed, and he saw evidence of it in his life. It took awhile, but eventually my dad listened to God's voice calling to him, and today my dad is a believer in Christ. 
Picture via Pinterest
 So don't give up. God hears every one of our prayers, and even if the answer seems to always be "Wait," He knows what's best.   He knows the perfect plan, and we need to trust it, even if it means things look a little slow or aren't going our way. 

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