Speaking of things that seem too hard, what shall we say of Peter, the tempted, failing disciple who betrayed his Lord? Tears of repentance led to a mighty restoration. God used him to bring thousands to the Lord on the day of Pentecost. “And when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:32); Peter fulfilled this desire of his Lord in a very practical way. In contrast Paul lamented over Demas who “has forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10). The end of Demas’ life is hidden from us, but we can only think of it with sadness. There are many known to us who have drifted away from the Lord and His things. Are we praying for them? Assuring them of our prayers? Sending them a booklet or a little message from the Lord? Seeking their restoration in the spirit of the eagerness of our forgiving God? This is a service for God which needs wisdom, compassion; but it is an important work for there is a life at stake, a life that is being wasted.
A good start is to tell the wayward ones that we are praying for their restoration; let us tell them also of God’s cry to the Israelite who had shamefully left the Lord for a life of sin. “Will you not from this time cry to Me, “My Father, You are the guide of my youth?” (Jeremiah 3:4). It is almost as though God is teaching the backslider, the Israelite idol worshipper, how to pray, by putting into his mouth these wonderful words of pleading and restoration, “My Father, You are the guide of my youth”. This might well be the acknowledgement of all our hearts.
Dr. Robert Morrison, medical missionary to China, was a living testimony to a Christian mother’s ceaseless prayers for her two wayward sons. While she remained in Scotland one son went to the USA, became a heavy drinker of alcohol, and a mocker of Christians. He would wait for the congregation to leave anevangelical church in Chicago and would taunt them with his offers of alcohol. He was considered a hopeless case. But the mother’s prayers, and the Spirit’s pleading, brought him under the conviction of sin. One night he was awakened out of sleep, and as a trembling sinner he came to Christ.
He became one of God’s good men, and subsequently returned home to convey to his mother the good news of her answered prayers for him. Overjoyed, Mrs Morrison invited her son to join with her in continued prayer for the son Robert, also a wayward lad. Unknown to the praying couple Robert was brought under conviction on the deck of a ship in the China Sea. God caused him to review his mother’s Christian influence on him as a boy and her continual prayers for his salvation. The Holy Spirit brought him to a realization of his need of Christ and he was born again. Returning to Scotland, he gave himself to the study of the Scriptures and medicine, and he dedicated his life to China as a medical missionary. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14).