For each will have to bear his own load. Galatians 6:5
As they were discussing unanswered prayer, one of the group members added that he and many of his friends had spent years praying for another one of their friends. They had watched helplessly as their friend vacillated in his spiritual life, up and down, hot and cold. In the end, he broke fellowship with them all and left to pursue his own aspirations.
Watching our friend quietly speak of his disappointment, the weight he carried was obvious. He went on to say that he often wondered what more they could have done and why God hadn’t intervened when so many were trusting him for an answer.
This wasn’t a time for a pat memory verse. “All things work together for good” wouldn’t suffice for such a deep wound. Several things began to emerge from the group. Someone said, “You aren’t responsible for the decisions someone else makes.” Another group member said, “God doesn’t force his will on us, and he allows us to do as we please.” Then someone submitted, “We can’t expect ourselves to have known in earlier years what we know now.” Finally, “God is the God of the past as well as the present and can walk with you through that time to bring healing and understanding.”
It appeared that perhaps God was also in the dock. Where had he been when he was most needed? Additional thoughts began to pour forth. Moses went to Pharaoh several times asking that he let God’s people go. Initially, Pharaoh agreed but later changed his mind and hardened his heart. The Scripture then states that, after repeated rejections, “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (Exodus 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27, 10). Pharaoh had an opportunity to listen to God and suffer little damage to his throne and country, but his recurring disregard finally resulted in his inability to choose rightly. He lost everything.
How can we presume to know what God is working in any man’s heart? And because we see no outward evidence of God’s presence, may we arrogantly charge him with negligence? Are we aware of the people God is sending? The angels unawares? The dreams and visions? The written and spoken messages that are being transmitted through varied sources? How can we charge God with failure when “his ways are higher than ours” (Isaiah 55:8), and “he speaks in different ways” (Job 33:14).
Our friend dropped his burden of many years, repented, and once again allowed God to be God.
Father in heaven, thank you for your mercy. How awesome that you do not defend yourself against false charges but stand ready to receive the one whose eyes have been opened. Thank you.