Saturday, November 8, 2008

Camels and Needles on Election Day

This past month it seems that God has been trying to show me that He specializes in impossibilities....

It was Election Day. I was driving across town, praying for the souls of two men who I have come to care about deeply. This year they were running against each other for a top state government position. Their character left much to be desired. But in getting to know them, I had become more and more convicted of their need for a Savior -- far greater than my need for either one of them win or loose in the election. Sure, their election would affect my temporary, earthly life in some small way. But what about their never-dying souls?

They were both people in "high places" who I felt would be less likely to humble themselves before a Holy God than for "a camel to go through the eye of a needle." I prayed for it daily, but I really couldn't picture it happening.

This day their names were on every ballot across the state. I didn't even know anymore who should win that position. The whole situation was a confusing mess.

"God," I cried out, "They seem impossible to reach. Will they ever come to the end of themselves and cry out for mercy? Will they ever see what wretched souls they are before You? Will they ever see their desperate need for God?"

These men have flippantly joked about "Christian fanatics" and about people who get too serious about religion, the one making it especially clear that he thinks that religion and prayer and God are for grannies, not intelligent, educated, powerful men like him.

So, as my heart was heavy for him, I prayed, feeling useless and senseless and without any direction of what to even pray for him.

And then I got a text... from him. It said (among other things), "If you have any spare moments today, would you stop and pray for me?"

Pray for me?!

That was a weird statement, to be made by a man who doesn't believe in prayer. Why would he bother on the biggest day of his life to ask me to pray for him if he didn't think it would do some good?

Maybe he was starting to believe that God really does rule over the affairs of men. I remembered with gratefulness how this man had a few months earlier heard a powerful and moving testimony of an answer to prayer. I had thought that he couldn't have possibly forgot the story he heard, and I had prayed for months that God would use that story in his heart to remind him again and again of the greatness, justice, and holiness of God.

I replied that I was praying for him, and would continue to do so. But I didn't pray that he would win or loose the election. I prayed that God would use whatever it would take in his life and that of his opponent - winning or loosing (for both of them), to bring them both to an awareness of their need for a Saviour. It was hard not to tell God which one I wanted to win for my own comfort. Instead I asked God to use the election in the lives of these politicians to bring them to Himself. And then I left the results up to God.

The day after the election, the same man (who ended up winning) sent me another message. He sounded so different... humble... not like himself. "Thank you," it said, "For continuing to pray for me. I can't tell you what it means to me."

Wow. The man who didn't believe in prayer was now acknowledging his need for prayer. He has a lot of friends who are powerful and rich and pompous and clever . But he seemed to think that a little nobody like me might have a connection to the God he ought to know? I smiled. There was a glimmer of hope. Maybe a camel would go through the eye of a needle after all!

Once again, I was reminded that God is not limited by the limits of MY imagination or human possibilities.

I'm still praying for him, and asking God to continue bring the Truth of the Gospel before this man who lives in a world of the false pretense of politics. But his sincere requests for prayer have left me with a glimmer of hope that, yes, God can change the hearts of kings and rulers and He can bring them to their knees.

My only job is to be faithful to speak the truth and pray and let God work in their hearts. God can do what I can't imagine, and that is my prayer for both of these men.


Laurel said...

I am amazed, grateful, and brought to tears of repentance. All at once.

Mary said...

There were lots of tears of repentance on my part that day.
You can't imagine how emotionally tied up I was in the whole situation. (Well, maybe *you* can, Laurel!)
Receiving the request for prayer made me realize that not only did I play a role in who was going to hold a temporary, earthly office, but vastly more important, my actions might be influencing their eternal destinies.
That was the first day I could entirely, unreservedly yield the entire situation to Him who does all things well. I was so much freer waiting for the final results of Election Day, realizing that it mattered far more where both men spend eternity than if the one who I had a good relationship with won.