Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Does God Give Up?

It's a good question isn't it? Does God ever give up? At times, I get a little miffed at the Disciples who "occasionally" asked questions, but often didn't ask very good ones! LOL As I reflect upon the parable of The Lost Sheep, I have questions. Maybe you do too. Maybe you're a lost sheep. Maybe your child is. Or maybe you have loved ones that are so lost that it appears God has stopped looking for them. We can grab hold of the parts of the gospel that we choose to . . . or we can accept it all. (FYI: God advises the latter) Jesus tells us that a good shepherd goes after his lost sheep until he finds it. But, my question is, "What happens if he finds it and it keeps running away again, and again, and again, and again, and again?"  . . . well you get the point. Does God give up? The question I would have asked Jesus is, "Will God continue to leave His faithful sheep time and time again, threatening their well-being, just to find the lost one who obviously doesn't want to be found??????"

So, in prayer, I asked God this question. He revealed many things to me. And the truth is, God's love is unfailing . . . He never "gives up." BUT, He will "give them up." Although God is always waiting with open arms for that lost sheep that keeps running off . . . He will let them go their own way . . . to allow them to wander in despair, in order that they might realize their need for a Shepherd. Let me back this up with Truth. Here's some Scriptures to chew ; ) on:

So I gave them up to the desires of their hearts; 
that they might go after their evil purposes.
(Psalm 81:12)

Many times he delivered them, 
but they were bent on rebellion 
and they wasted away in their sin.
(Psalm 106:43)

 . . . he gave them over (up) 
to the penalty of their sin.
(Job 8:4)

So God turned away from them and gave them over (up)
to worship the heavenly bodies. 
(Acts 7:42)

In the past God allowed
all people to live as they pleased.
(Acts 14:16)

and with all the deception of wickedness
for those who perish, because they did not receive
the love of the truth so as to be saved.
(2 Thessalonians 2:10)

Therefore God gave them up 
in the lusts of their hearts to impurity
(Romans 1:24)

Friends, every sinner is running against the time when God "gives them up." (When God removes His restraining grace and allows the sinner to reap the consequences of their sin.) Every sinner is in danger of their heart hardening so much that they cannot hear the Truth. AND Truth says God does that. He gives them up to their hearts of stone. 

"The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts-
so that their eyes cannot see, 
and their hearts cannot understand,
 and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them." 
John 12:40

The "cannot" part insinuates that they "want to," but "cannot." These are words to be heard and shared with every sinner. Time is running out. We don't know when the time will come that God will take action in this way.

It was interesting, a friend of mine told me that she had gone to speak with a VERY respected pastor about her husband's sinfulness. She described in detail his addictions, and the pastor told her that there was about a 2% chance that her husband would ever change. Although he verbalized clearly that with God ALL things are possible, he said that given the situation, the chances were slim to none . . . when it came to her husband surrendering his will to God's. I was shocked! But, then I realized, this pastor sees ALOT AND He KNOWS TRUTH. He knows, "God gives them up." He doesn't give up on them, but He DOES let go. He will allow the sinner to go their own way. 

I have seen God CHASE after the sinner. I've seen Him pour down His love and grace with hurricane force. And I've seen the sinner look into the eyes of God and turn his back on Him . . . crucifying the Lord all over again. God has something to say about that:

Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning 
after we have received knowledge of the truth, 
there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. 
(Hebrews 10:26)

Brothers and sisters, pray for the lost before God "gives them up." Remember that you might be the only Bible people ever read. Be willing to speak Truth in your everyday conversation so that the Spirit might work within the hearts of the lost. Pray that they might realize their need to be found.


Unknown said...

Hey Girlfriend.. sorry it has been so long since ive been by.. I have been working on a new Womens Ministry with a friend of mine.. and it has kept my very busy.. its called .http://heartofthehome-blog.blogspot.com/
But love your post.. I do have a lost sheep,,and have been that lost sheep more times than i care to admit.. thank goodness that God is patient with us all.. Love ya friend.. stay in touch ,, you are awesome..love ya

Unknown said...

Hey Cherie,

Great explanation on a tough passage! Makes me want to pray for some friends and family members right now who are sure pushing and taxing the grace of God!

Thanks for tackling this one!

So excited to hear about the try outs, the choir, the choir director, and the solo! That is so cool and so God!

Wish I could be there to hear you sing!

You may need to video it and post it!

Thanks for sharing your updates with me. Blessed to hear the answers to prayer!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.


Tammi said...

Hey, Cherie! It's me..your "long lost bloggin' sister!" :) I just wanted to stop by and am so glad I did. This post reaffirms some things that I've been praying for in re: to some "lost sheep" in our extended family. Yes, He allows us to make choices. . and one thing to remember, if we are His children and keep wandering off, sometimes the Shepherd has to break the little lamb's leg in order that it will not be able to wonder off anymore, and therefore He carries it til it has healed and learned to love the sound of His voice during the healing process. It's painful, but necessary. There's another verse that I thought of...about where He "Gave them what they wanted but sent leanness to their souls." Psalm 106:15 OOoooh. I don't want to exchange bad desires for leanness in my soul. No way.
Anyway, yes, this was a very good thought-provoking post, dear friend; and also one to reignite the flame of fervent prayer on behalf of the lost souls around us.
Sending you a great big hug and letting you know I've not forgotten ya! :)

Connie Arnold said...

Thank you for the thoughtful post, Cherie. God is unfailing and never gives up - that's a wonderful thought to hold on to and give thanks! Blessings to you!

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I am so blessed that you would take the time to share your thoughts with me! You encourage my faith and I pray that God will fill you to the full with His love, mercy,and grace! With joy, Cherie

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