On Thursday afternoon I headed out for a long run down my usual route out to Claremore Lake and ended back up the start of my Springbrook neighborhood. The whole jog as I listened to my favorite worship band, desperation, I felt a sense of heaviness. As I normally do on a jog I pray over my community leaders, principals, social workers, medical, teachers, blue-collar, white-collar – whatever you name it. I pray over friends that i’ve gotten to know that are far from Christ.
With a mile to go I felt an intense urging to knock on Jim my neighbor’s door. I’ve done that a hundred times. He’s a man that we’ve given leftover meals too, mowed his lawn, taken him out for b-fast, had him in our home. We’ve grown to love him as our own. I felt like this was the day he would come to Christ. I just knew it. As I approached his door after spending ten minutes interceding on his behalf – I walked in with tears in my eyes. I expressed to him how much I loved him and how I could take credit for nothing – that everything we’ve done comes out of God’s love for him.
I spent nearly two hours with him. He was unconvinced. He doubts God and blames God. He challenged my faith in ways that none others have. I grew defensive and he hit a sensitive spot that caused me to challenge him back. As it began to lead into a debate – I stopped. I told him I loved him and didn’t come over to try to convert him. After we were done I left and walked into our house. I then walked right back over and apologized to him. I told him I was sorry and that my intention was not to debate or get defensive but that I simply loved him and from here on out – would love him unconditionally and serve him in any way he needed like I always have.
As I walked into my house I collapsed on my bed and cried like I just lost a love one. I sobbed and sobbed. I felt like I had completely failed as a Christ follower. I felt like I had so strongly been led and that he would receive Christ but he didn’t. I was angry that i did go over to convert him per say. I was mad because I went against everything I don’t like – I went with an agenda.
I just wanted him to come into relationship with christ so badly. I’ve been praying for him for over a year now. I just thought that it was going to be the day. I learned a few things. one – I can’t change a hard heart but God can and will in his timing. He’s not called me to convert but to serve and to obey and I did that by knocking on his door and giving him an opportunity. He is making the choice to deny Christ and I’ve got to respect that decision. Secondly – if all else it was an opportunity for me and my family to see firsthand my passion and heartbeat for those in my community. They got to see their husband and daddy weep like a baby for my neighbors. My heart beats with passion and as I put it out there – at times it will be broken, but I know without a doubt and have full confidence someday even if it is on his death-bed – my neighbor Jim will come to know a God that loves him. If he doesn’t I’ve obeyed and there are many other Jims out there that deserve the deposits that he is getting now.
Have you ever had this experience? Has someone you prayed for and loved so much smashed your heart by rejecting the God that can save them? Have you ever been a heart-broken Christ follower?