The main thing on my heart lately is this - I feel like I can't get through to some of my friends. I see them making the wrong choices and I do speak up and try to give sound advice, but it's just gotten hard. It's hard to give them hope when they want nothing to do with God and when they want to keep continuing on their path without worrying about future consequences (and there are always consequences). It's hard when there's nothing left I can do. Except pray.
But, I got to the point where I didn't even feel like God was listening. I know, I know - I know all the "Sunday School" answers - "God does hear," "God's timing isn't our own," etc. All true, yes, but it's deeper than that for me. I know there are a lot of people who pray and pray and pray, never once losing their belief and hope that God will change things. That just wasn't me. For such a long time, I have seen no change. None. Not a thing - every time I think there might be a glimmer of hope, I feel discouraged. Sometimes, I don't even know how to pray. It's a real thing for me. I have a hard time praying. There, I said it...
It's hard for me when, every day I see them struggling. No, faith in God doesn't make things automatically easier - this I know from experience. It's hard when I see them in pain and hurting. It breaks my heart and I just want to DO SOMETHING. I want so badly to see them change and I truly want them to be happy. I want them to realize they are loved. By me and by God - even if sometimes that makes me seem prudish and/or not worth their time.
Pastor Dave said something in his sermon that very week (when I just wanted to forget about them and leave their problems behind me) - "When we pray, we willingly participate in what God is doing." I could be taking this the wrong way, of course, and maybe this has nothing to do with this struggle inside of me. But, praying is doing something. Praying is talking to God - even when I am angry and yelling that He's not listening. Praying is begging God to use me in any way He can. Praying is giving the situation over to God. Praying is helping them even if they don't realize or want it. Praying is me letting God have control.
I would never want my friends to feel like I have given up on them. I'm sure there will be more times when I feel this way. But, there's just no way I can give up on them. I don't feel like that's what God wants me to do. I do need to remember that God is the One who changes their hearts - not me. Maybe He will use me to get through to them, maybe He won't (and, I need to remember that is a possibility). They're the ones who make the decisions. The best I can do is to give them real answers and not just sit back silently (though, that's not always a bad thing). I can listen and give sound advice when they don't seem to be getting it anywhere else. As much as it may hurt my heart, they don't need my judgement. No one deserves that... I just wish they knew how much I love them and want them to have blessed, fulfilled, wonderful lives.