‘Purposing Change’ Meditations: 18. God speaks to Unbelievers
2 Chron 36:22 “the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia.”
If you are still reading these thoughts each day, congratulations. We are on an enterprise that may be short-term but could be long-term. The longer the time drags on, hopefully the stronger our faith becomes, the more confident we become as Jesus’ ambassadors, but it is a war and that can be tiring and downright wearing on us. Hence the suggestion some time back to have a support team praying for you and sharing with you. I believe sometimes being the partner of an unbeliever, when you are a Christian, can mean great loneliness. We love them and they love us, and yet there is this gap between us. So sometimes we feel very much alone.
But here is the truth – you are not alone; the Lord is with you: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb 13:5) So what does that mean practically? It means that God is there with you in your home, in your workplace, in your circumstances – to do stuff! Did you know that God speaks to non-Christian unbelievers? He speaks to all sorts of people we might never have thought of. Every Christmas we think of the Magi, some strange guys from the east who simply took their guidance from a star or meteorite. OK maybe that had more weird forms of guidance we don’t know about, but they came, they heard God!
The all-powerful Cyrus, king of Persia, must be the classic example of this and the Lord doesn’t seem to have done it by using upset of any kind. This wasn’t a crisis, one of the bad things of the fallen world that we’ve thought about. No, He just spoke to Cyrus and convinced him it was time to send back His people to Israel to rebuild the temple. (Ezra 1:1,2). It was what brought to an end the Exile.
He also spoke to Abimelek king of Gerar (Gen 20:3) in a dream when Abraham had moved to the south of the country and encountered this king who took his wife. Abraham doesn’t say anything. He’s afraid. But God isn’t, God is on their case and He gives this king a serious warning in a dream: “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.” (v.3) No mincing words there: You are as good as dead! Ahhhhh! Oh yes, God does speak to non-believers and sometimes it is in ways that simply raise questions in them, sometimes it makes them reappraise their life, sometimes it bring downright conviction. I know of someone, a not-yet-believer, who nearly had a serious car accident but felt a strange prompting to look and see a coming hazard. Oh yes, the Lord was there and this man was starting to realize it. Sometimes it is in very small ways and the Lord often uses just very few words, but that is enough for the Holy Spirit to use those little things or little words as a hook on the consciousness of our loved one.
Previously I have written a series of God as ‘the Hound of Heaven’ (a picture from a poem written by poet Francis Thompson) because I am sure they were right, God’s grace pursues the fleeing sinner, without hurry or haste, but with a perseverance. With you on the case praying for your loved one, listening what God wants you to be and do, He will be there, and He WILL be speaking. So, may I suggest a specific prayer topic: you ask the Lord to speak directly to your loved one or friend in such a way they raise it with you, that they recognize they have been hearing something and that has raised questions in them that they can no longer hold in. Don’t go feeding them cheese, just pray! Just another string on the instrument that you are becoming for the Lord to play on. May the music of your life and your activities be used by the Lord to soothe the soul of your loved one, your prodigal, your friend, so they open up like a flower bud in the sun. Beautiful!