Monday, July 02, 2012

Praying for the lost

rogereolson says:
June 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I thought I gave my suggestion for prayer for unbelieving friends and loved ones in the post, didn’t I? I pray for God to bring circumstances into their lives that will increase their awareness of their need of him.

Up to a point, that’s a good prayer for the lost. But what type of circumstance is best suited to increase an unbeliever’s sense of needing God? The obvious answer is: tragic circumstances. Death. Cancer. A degenerative illness. A frightening accident. A crippling injury. 

It’s easy for us to feel safe and self-reliant until tragedy hits close to home. That suddenly makes us aware of how terribly vulnerable we are, as well as those dear to us.

And that’s not just theoretical. In reality, tragedies often result in bringing unbelievers or nominal believers to the faith. Or restoring backsliders. An actual loss or a near miss can have that jolting effect. A sudden and severe deprivation, or a harrowing close call, involving us or someone we love, is the type of circumstance that naturally shakes the indolent out of their complacency.

But here’s the catch: Olson doesn’t believe that God is responsible for tragedies. So, according to Olson, the type of circumstances most amendable to converting the lost are the very circumstances which God never causes.

Why should we turn to God when tragedy strikes if God has nothing to do with it? It’s not a warning from God. It’s just a fluke.

But what other circumstances specifically point to our need for him? When all is well, we don’t feel needy.

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