Whatever It Takes
The allegiance of the soul is such a vital matter that our Father God is willing to take drastic steps in His attempts to gain the attention of humans and cause them to ponder their relationship to Him. These drastic measures have been referred to as “severe mercy.” If we refuse to respond to the goodness of God (seen in the Cross of Christ), He reserves the right to deal with us in severity (see Romans 11:22). But even then, His motive is our eternal welfare.
In Isaiah 8:6f, God laments that His elect people, Israel, rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah which were intended to turn their hearts toward Him. So He must bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates, which represented the invading Assyrian army. There would follow death, destruction and exile. But there, in captivity, some of the people would turn again to God. And the day would come when such people would actually thank God for the severe mercy that got their attention and turned their hearts back from evil, helping them to avoid a curse worse than captivity.
The truth is that we should be grateful for the intrusion into our lives of whatever it was that caused us to become concerned with our souls and with following the will of God. Pharaoh wouldn’t listen to God until the death of his firstborn son. It required a great fish to stop Jonah’s spiritual rebellion. For Judah’s evil King Manasseh, it took prison in Babylon for him to humble himself before God and seek forgiveness. Leprosy was the reason Captain Naaman came to see God’s prophet. In Jesus’s day, it was the sickness of a beloved daughter that brought a synagogue ruler to Him. One woman met Jesus during a time of her public shame because of sexual sin, and she left forgiven and charged to live a new kind of life. A man named Saul of Tarsus was stricken blind as he was journeying to cause grief among any Christians he might find in Damascus. And, lo and behold, he became one of those he previously hated and hunted. Some came to Jesus because of their own problems, while some came because of problems in the lives of those they loved. But come to Him they did!
Listen, and I know this is a lot easier to say than to accept, if it is poverty, prison, illness, tragedy, bereavement, estrangement, or…(you fill in the blank)…that is required to bring us home to Christ, then that is, in the end, something that led us to the greatest blessing we could ever know. To have the entire world and not have Jesus Christ is a tragic circumstance. And even if you had to give up the entire world in order to gain Christ, you made the best and smartest move you could possibly make. For the earthly life we have been given is not worthy to be compared with what is ahead for God’s people.
As we pray for our beloved lost family and friends, let’s pray, bravely, that God gets them using whatever circumstances He must. It may be very difficult now, but we’ll have eternity to rejoice that He did so. Come home!