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For the Long Haul

My wife and I are on a cruise for our 15th anniversary, and one of the activities was to meet and take a tour with the man in charge of the large garden in the middle of the ship.

I know, I know. We are wild people! But it was fascinating.

This garden has shops and restaurants that line the sides and beautiful vegetation in the center. It’s 28,000 square feet of trees, shrubs, flowering plants, and sculptures.

One of the things that surprised me was that before they put this massive living garden on a ship, they spent two years recreating the conditions as best as possible on an island. They tried to imagine and combat the challenges and see if this impossible task were possible.

People lived and worked there for 2 years during this development phase.

I immediately thought of how we sometimes treat people in regard to the Gospel or their situations. They do something we feel is irredeemable and we write them off, or we pray for them a few days or few months then forget and move on.

I don’t advocate treating people like projects and necessarily strategizing getting them into the Kingdom. God can do that and use us, but that’s not my point.

If people will spend two years of their lives to make a garden on a big ship, how much more important are people?

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One is done for a pleasurable experience, beauty, and ultimately to provide more money for their company. The other is about eternity.

I remember George Mueller. He was a man of earnest prayer and faith who had prayed many people into God’s Kingdom. At the time of his death, he had two friends who were not born again, and he had prayed for many years. It was at his funeral that they both gave their lives to Christ.

You may want to write off family members. You may want to stop praying for people because it’s “not working.” You may be tempted just to drift away from the topic.

Stand your ground.

I’m as guilty as anyone, but I have a renewed appreciation for the kind of persistence that values people and their position in eternity. Whether it’s a quick work or a long process, stay with it.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you tend to cut people off or count them out too quickly?

10 Comments

  1. I have often said no one is done until they breathe their last breath. Even though I may think it is over, God is not in league with me.
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted..HootMy Profile

    • So true! And many times, we don’t even know what happens in those final breaths. If a criminal can seek Jesus on a cross next to Him and be in paradise, there is hope for all! Thank you, Bill.

  2. Thank you for reminding me of Mueller. I have friends and family I’ve prayed for for years. God is listening. He is working, even if I can’t see results right now. It may not happen in my lifetime. But I must entrust them to God and keep on praying as if their lives depend on it- because they do.

    • We so desperately want to put an expiration date on everything--relationships, prayers, serving, or whatever else. Either He’s Lord or He’s not, and we get the privilege of yielding to the Holy Spirit to see harvest. Believing with you for my own “tough cases.” Thanks TC.

  3. I used to cut people off & count them out quickly as a lost case. Then, I realized how long it took for me to change and how I’m still changing. God is in it for the long haul, and we should be too. I have said often recently that there are people who I really don’t believe can change, BUT I do believe God can change anyone. Too many examples throughout scripture and beyond too think otherwise.
    Kari Scare recently posted..5 Crucial Principles for Managing StressMy Profile

    • Sort of like the demoniac’s father, “I believe, help my unbelief.” I know exactly what you mean. They’ve been a certain way so long, you can’t even imagine them being any different. But then there’s grace… Thank God for grace in our lives! Thanks Kari.

  4. Amen, Jason. We need to keep that heart of love, not defeat. It gets old, but it’s not up to us, it’s our job to do what we were commissioned for! Have fun!

    • Thank you, Floyd--we did have a wonderful, relaxing time. 🙂 I would actually prefer to say I felt defeat, but many times I feel like they missed their window so my responsibility is done. I may not say it out loud, but I feel that way. How sad is that! Lord, renew my heart and my prayers, day after day. Thanks again.

  5. I confess, that I weary of prayer for those in whom I see no change or repentance, forgetting that God has a plan for their lives. We have been through some recent stressful and trying time regarding some family members. Your post gave me the inspiration and confidence to keep praying anyway, knowing that God works in His time, not mine. Thank you, Jason!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..Eternal LifeMy Profile

    • Wow, thank you, Martha. And yes, I know what you mean. I think when we realize that God is wooing and drawing throughout all the seasons of life, we can keep our confidence even if we don’t see the results just yet. Thanks again!

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