Listen to this devotional:
Job 17:11 – My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart. (NIV)
When we were young, what was it that we had a desire to become, when we were (shall I say) grown up?
I remember my mother telling me how she had to take piano lessons when she never really wanted to play a piano.
She attended the Toronto Conservatory of Music to take piano lessons, but my grandmother had something else in mind, and that was to have my mother learn to play, and then teach the other two siblings.
But the day my mother completed her lessons, she never touched a piano again. What an unfortunate situation for all, I thought.
Many years later, while talking about this with my brother, I found that he was rather upset, because he wanted to take piano lessons, but my mother would have nothing to do with it.
Here we have a loss on both sides, one with the opportunity to take piano lessons and no desire to play a piano, and the other with the desire to play a piano and no way to fulfill it.
It disturbs me how misguided desires can sometimes shatter the lives of others. In fact, in this case, the desire of one brought misery to many. The lesson is that we should never try to force others to take on something we desire for them, when they have no interest in it.
On the spiritual level, despite our best desires that our loved ones come to salvation, we cannot force them to accept Christ, and God doesn't force anyone either. We must come on our own.
John 6:44a – No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me. (AMP)
Some non-Christians are very sensitive to aggressive witnessing. So we must be careful to let God do the drawing, rather than us doing the pushing. Instead, we should be praying for appropriate "teachable moments" to present our faith.
Often, God will create circumstances that cause people to see that accepting Christ is their best alternative. But He never manipulates us, and neither should we. It would be counter-productive.
Prayer: Most gracious heavenly Father, though we sometimes stumble in how we present ourselves and our faith to one another, enable us to let go and let You guide us. How great is the salvation that awaits us through Your grace! May we grow in the faith that our desires will be fulfilled in the eternal kingdom that awaits us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.