How Much Longer?

“What happens if a fellow Christian does not grow spiritually? What if no matter how long you wait, he never grows?”

During Bible study, a brother asked this question, and several answers and examples were given. I answered him. I know of someone, who did not just “not grow,” he simply walked away. With tears, I answered him. It is hard, watching someone you care about, someone close to you walk away from God, because you are not just walking away from God, you are walking away from love, family, and life. But what can I do? I had thought I could have some sort of power to save him, I thought I was wise enough to curb him in, to take him by the collar, and to shake some sense into him. Who am I to do all that?

The answer is God.

It is not in man’s power to fix something God wants to stay broken. Purposefully, the Lord made “the heart of this people [Israel] calloused; made their ears dull and closed their eyes,” turning them away from the Lord (Isaiah 6:10). There are so many people like that, not just Israel. Their hearts are stone, they are mute, deaf, and blind. We try to talk to them, to reason with them, but to no avail.

I have tried everything. I have wept, I have screamed. I flung threats and insults. I ask God the question Isaiah posed to God. “For how long, O Lord?” (Isaiah 6:11). For how long must I watch him wallow in self-pity and hatred? How long must we live in fear? How long, O Lord, until he is willing to listen, to see, to understand? I have waited for years, how much longer must I wait?

The feeling of helplessness is present in the moments we are told to wait. But the truth is, as we watch a fellow Christian walk away from God, or as we try to reason with someone who simply refuses to listen, all we can do it wait. Whether it be two months or twenty years, we wait. We wait for the Lord to complete His plan for that person, that nation, this world because there will be a time when their hearts are softened and their eyes opened. God doesn’t just leave Isaiah asking the question “how long?” He answers him in Isaiah 6:11~13.

God is coming back. And when He does, this world will be laid to waste with nothing remaining except God, Himself. Only then. Only then, will the whole world be able to understand, perceive, and see what was there all along.

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