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Day 97: Let Us Not Lose Heart

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Longsuffering. One of the descriptions for the word longsuffering in this verse is to be long of spirit, not to lose heart.

The verse before this one reads:

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8

God, Who is not limited by time as we are, is long in spirit. God is not slack, meaning He is not slow nor is He delaying His coming. He is just not willing that ANY should perish. So, He is willing to wait. 

For years as I have prayed for lost family and friends, I have reminded God of 2 Peter 3:9. I have prayed for His will to be done  -  that my loved ones would come to repentance and trust Christ as their Savior. 

I remember the day I approached my Uncle Elmer and asked him if he knew for sure he was going to heaven when he died. I was still a teenager. To be honest, I did not have a close relationship with my uncle though we had lived next door to him and his family all my life. We attended the same church while I was growing up. Yet, I did not know if Uncle Elmer was on his way to Heaven. 

It would have been amazing for me to hear his salvation testimony, but… our conversation did not go well. Maybe he thought I was being disrespectful. I don’t know. He was just not happy that I had asked him that question and he had a few choice words for me.

I continued to pray for my uncle for years, but never personally brought up the subject to him again. 

Some years later.. I remember that it was in the month of October… I became especially burdened once more for Uncle Elmer. It was during a ladies conference at my church. There was a group of ladies who would be making phone calls to share the gospel with lost loved ones during the conference. Any lady at the conference could turn in the name and number of a family member or friend. These sweet soul winners would call the numbers turned in and present the gospel if they could. Other ladies committed to pray that the gospel message would be received while the calls were being made.

This part of our ladies conference had always been a blessing to me in the past.  I had rejoiced through the years with many as I heard testimonies of husbands, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters trusting Christ as their Savior because of one of these calls. This particular year I decided I needed to turn in Uncle Elmer’s name. I had done what I could. I had prayed. I had witnessed. I had prayed some more. I was not sure how he would respond, if he would take the call or even be nice to the lady that made the call, but it did not matter. I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to write down his name and number. So I did. 

By Saturday morning I received a message from the soul winner, the lady who had made the call. “Janice, your Uncle Elmer sweetly prayed to receive Christ as his Savior! And sent this message, ‘Would you please tell Janice, Thank you!’”  

Tears streamed down my face! What a blessing that message was to me! Years of praying! Years of wanting to know if my Uncle knew for sure he was going to Heaven when he died. 

As time passes and as I pray for family and friends, two verses keep me from losing heart. Two verses encourage me to pray and wait.

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Luke 18:1

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9

Reaping takes time. Waiting is required.

Thankfully, God is longsuffering toward us and His Spirit produces longsuffering within us towards others. As we continue to pray for lost family and friends, let us not be slack. Let us be long of spirit, willing to wait. Let us not lose heart. And most of all, let us be unwilling that any should perish. 

Theme Verse:

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” Mark 8:35

“Lose” from the Greek word “Apollymi” means “to destroy fully.” It is translated “perish ” in 2 Peter 3:9, our verse for today.

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