I am going to go out on a limb here and presume that you would desire, that it is your hearts greatest intent towards those that you love and call your friends, that they would be saved, that they would come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. My guess would be that your prayers go something like this, “Lord, please bring them to the knowledge of you, call them to you, help them to see that nothing matters in this life or in the next more than you. Show me how to reach them, give me the words that they need to hear.” Am I close?
How long have you been praying like this for them, or something very similar to it, years? And they still refuse His call, they still think they are good enough, after all, they’ve never killed anybody, at least most of them, they’re no worse than anyone else. And your response? “In your time Lord, not mine,” and the years continue to flow past like a river, and then they are gone, unrepentant, dying eternally.
How many of these individuals that you are praying for have what they would consider a “satisfactory” life, financially stable, as best as can be expected, healthy most of the time, they have got a roof over their head, life has its ups and downs, but it is basically going well. “Let’s see, everything is going great, but you know what, if I had Jesus on top of all this, life would be even better.” Do you really believe that is going to happen? What God intends to use; He breaks first. “Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.” (Exo. 2:15) “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” (Gen. 32:24) “And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.” (Acts 9:18)
How many examples have you read of in the Scriptures that show us where our Lord usually calls His chosen, at the bottom, in the valleys, rarely on the mountain top. Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, (Luke 5:32) and how does a man understand his sin unless he is shown by the Word of God that he is indeed a sinner. There are two ways of witnessing to the lost in these last few decades that have all but disappeared, showing and telling people that according to the Scriptures they are sinners, evil and wicked in the eyes of God, (Prov. 5:21) and by praying that trials, troubles and sorrows would enter into their lives so that they will have no place to turn but Christ. They are almost anathema, something accursed, in their eyes, and they would as much mention or pray one of these two ways as they would ask them upon themselves.
Love is supposed to be the only way today, love and nothing but love, no reproving or correcting, even though we are commanded to, (2 Tim. 4:2) no speaking of the entirety of the Word of God, only in partial parts do we tell them of our Lord, only the parts that do not make us feel uncomfortable. “Jesus loves you; this is what He has done for me.” No conviction of sin can be accomplished without the Scriptures, and few if any man comes to Christ unless there is a crisis in their lives, when He is the only place left to turn. It is how our Lord most generally has worked in the hearts of men throughout the ages, put them in a pit where there is no place left to look but up, put them behind bars with the knowledge that only He has the key.
Were you not there? Were you not in a place of hopelessness and extreme despair, knowing that the situation was terminal, that there was no way out? Why then this pervasiveness that the only way for us to bring people to Christ today is with polite and kind words and actions, why no more conviction of sin, why do we not pray for suffering to enter into the lives of those we love who do not know Christ as Lord yet. Just doesn’t feel right does it, to ask the Lord to bring trials and tribulations into their lives, to bring sorrow so that they will come to the knowledge that He is Sovereign now, instead of the moment they are being cast alive into the Lake of Fire. It just doesn’t seem right to look them square in the eyes and tell them that they are wicked in the eyes of God, and that the wrath of God is abiding on them. (John 3:36) And do you know why it doesn’t feel right? Because you are listening to your heart and not the commandments of God, and “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)
Far too many of the hearts of those who profess Christ as Lord have fallen into this trap of Satan, this trap that love is the only way, that suffering is to be avoided at all cost, that sin is not that bad of a thing. Do you know why so many hundreds of millions are going to be saved during the tribulation period, it is not because of the type of worship services you see in the churches today, a watered down, entertainment type of meeting, it will not be because of the generalized type of witnessing that is coming from the mouths of those who call Jesus Lord today, it will be because our Lord is going to show the world that it is He who has made the heaven and earth, it is He who determines the course of mankind. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt. 24:21)
And you’re afraid you might hurt their feelings, they might not like you any more because you have spoken the truth to them, that we should only tell them of His love and not of the wrath and fury without pity that will abide on them for all of eternity if they die in their sins. How about this, if you can’t find the strength within you, for want of a less polite word, why don’t you start praying for suffering to come upon them, pain, trials, and sorrow. You don’t even have to tell them that you are doing so, just continue to love them, but be prepared when, and if, the Lord answers these prayers to lead them to the cross, prepare your heart to lead them in a prayer that will bring them to salvation. The choice is yours, you can watch them die in their sins and burn eternally, or you can help them to see that Christ is the only one at the top of the pit with His arm outstretched to pull them out today.
I will not presume upon the Lord, no one can, if they are one of the chosen or not, only He knows, but I do know this, the way you have been going about it has not been working, has it. To continue to perform a task in the same manner continuously and expect a different result is one of the definitions of insanity, and in the wrong type of patience there can be found this same insanity. Either convict them thru the word of God that they are sinners, or ask the Lord to place them in a valley, both can be done in love.