Hope Not Responded
There is hope, even when loved ones have not yet responded.
We are just 2 weeks away from the Celebration of Hope—a major outreach event that we believe God will do great things in our nation, and in the lives of our loved ones!
At this point you may have invited a number of pre-believing loved ones. A number of them may have accepted your invitation, yet others may have rejected, or not yet responded. Some of these loved ones may be people we have been praying for a long time.
What do you do when loved ones have not yet responded in the way we hope for?
I want to encourage you to keep your faith and hope alive in Christ! This is the time to look to God for a needed breakthrough… a time to pour out your faith in prayer to God!
Keep the invitations & reminders open,
keep praying for your invitees,
keep reaching out…
Through all of this, one of the most important factors that can make a difference is in keeping your faith and hope alive in Christ, for faith and hope in God can lead to great things:
Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved? Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 18:24-27)
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (1 Corinthians 5:3-5)
There is always hope for your unsaved loved ones, not merely because of what you do, but more so because God has a plan for them, for they were created by God!
Most of our loved ones may trace their origins back to a great-grand parent, or to China, or India or some country before ancestors migrated here. When we go back far enough, we realize that we are birthed from God who created the first man, that we are descended from God, our lineage and potential is in Him. This is true for all of us!
No matter how much denial your loved ones present, they can never run away from who they are in God! Therefore, you can have hope that at some point, God will confront them, He will speak to them, and will touch them.
Therefore, in this journey, the best gift we can give to our loved ones is a “self” filled with faith and hope for their salvation! Our demeanour, our words, our actions and our very lives are a testimony of God’s desire to connect with them.
How can we keep this faith and hope for loved ones alive, despite their indifference or rejection?
Let me share 3 thoughts about our loved ones to keep your hope alive, even when your loved ones have not yet responded:
- Your loved one is meant to believe in something greater than themselves
The Bible tells us that deep within all of us is an awareness that the driving force of our lives should not be just ourselves.
I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
There is a yearning for something greater and eternal that your loved one is seeking to find in life. The scientist & mathematician Pascal called this “a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator…”
The Bible tells us that life is lived best when the driving force of our lives is God at its centre.
- Your loved one needs the work of God through seasons of their lives
There are different seasons through which God works in your loved one’s lives. They may not respond in the same way through the seasons, but God’s work and word planted in different ways does His work.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)
When we partner God, His word is planted in our unsaved loved ones in different ways through different seasons. While they may not be yet outwardly responsive in this season, God does deal with their hearts. There is a hope that they may be responsive in the next season!
A church member once shared that when she became a Christian, she had a dream: her brother in law was happily swimming in a sea of fire. She called out to him from a higher place to get away from there. His answer to her was “No! I’m enjoying myself!”. Her brother-in-law was very resistant to the gospel. She thought he was condemned and would never change. But encouraged by friends, she began to pray systematically for him. She was disappointed repeatedly when she did not see the results. She brought her frustration to God, to which God’s reply to her was “not yet”! But she was always filled with the hope that God’s plan is divine, God’s timing is perfect, God’s love is immense. It was many years later that a breakthrough came to her family. Of all the members of her family, her brother-in-law was the first to open his heart to Christ. She invited him to a healing rally and there, he received a healing for his back, and gave his life to Christ!
It is beautiful how God has done everything at the right time. He has put a sense of eternity in people’s minds. (Ecclesiastes 3:11, GWT)
Perhaps some of your unsaved loved ones have been unresponsive to you in past times. Is this coming season one where they may have a change of heart? Would you hold the hope that God is at work, and will touch them through the seasons, if not this one then perhaps the next season of their lives?
Our role is to keep our hope alive and keep praying for them through the seasons of God’s work!
- Your loved one needs a plethora of gifts to meet them at the point of their needs.
While we bring our personality, gift and style to reach our loved ones,there may sometimes be a limit: they need a diversity of gifts to touch them and prepare them to be open to God.
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labour.(1 Corinthians 3:6-8)
We may be watering into our loved one’s lives, while others may seed or harvest. You may not see the outward change at the watering time, but in all efforts, God makes things grow! It helps if we can discern the needs of our loved ones and seek the right gifts that may address some of their deep needs.
At special outreach events like the Celebration of Hope, there are gifts of music, evangelist, healing and others that are in operation. Some of them may be the gift needed for this season to bring a breakthrough in your loved ones’ lives. Perhaps in inviting them, that gift may give that breakthrough where past seasons have prepared them for!
- Training Cell Group Core Teams to “Engage People through Outreach & Hospitality”
- Training Pastors and Board Key Leaders in “Compass for your Outreach Mission”
- Training All Members to “Reach out with Hope for Sustaining Evangelism”
- Training All Members in “I am a Witness”
Isn’t it worth your time and effort to help your loved one find the One who is their creator and source of their purpose in life? More exciting than climbing the ladder of success is when you see your loved ones discover the purpose for which they were born and to live it out! The start of that journey begins when they discover God in their lives!
Don’t give up hope if your loved one has not yet responded!
Continue to journey with them out of faith and hope—God is committed to speak to them and touch them because in Him they live and breathe and have their being (Acts 17:28). He is their creator and their source is in Him.
Let’s put our faith and reliance in God and pour out our faith in prayer. Put our faith in Christ above all, and let’s celebrate our Eternal Hope together!
Rev. Dr. Philip Huan, Principal Consultant Churchlife Resources
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Photo by Louis Moncouyoux on Unsplash
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