It is not frustrating. And it is not in vain.
It is frustrating when we perceive the things of God from our own mind and heart. For then, our work for the Living God seems fruitless.
We speak to our brother about Christ, but he casts us away as if we are insane. He goes about his business of death with a smile on his face, as if he has just vanquished a foolish enemy. Calling us names in his mind, heart, and words, he considers us vile and useless.
He happily goes back to his useless gods: “To these I am familiar. I understand when they speak about my dreams and ambitions. They are set concretely by the evidence of History. This nation or that has relied heavily on the traditions I love so much. The after life is mysterious. But these gods give me consolation in my sorrow. They speak well of my potential.”
With the sleight-of-hand that belongs to death, he throws away our testimony for Christ. Our words are full of fault in his eyes. For they give no praise or quarter to man. The testimony of Christ is foolishness to such people.
I consider this with sober mind. I want his salvation. I want to hear the praise of Christ on his lips. I want to see a changed heart that is willing to learn and love.
But I am caught up in frustration. The very thing I do not have a right to own. For salvation does not belong to me. It is not within my grasp to grant or to take away. I cannot open the eyes of his heart. I cannot open his ears that he should hear. And I cannot manipulate his heart that he should learn to love and to be humble.
Salvation belongs to our God and to the Lamb. For he dispenses his wisdom from heaven. What he gives, when he gives, and how he gives, is dictated by eternity. And he does not speak the Gospel to us in words that can be spoken or perceived by Man.
God speaks his Gospel to us in the faithfulness that surrounds us. He speaks in a language that never ceases. He speaks vast volumes of books in a short and poignant sentence.
All the while Man looks for the key. But his hands are not big enough to handle the object of release which God offers from heaven.
What is the summation of this? I confess I do not know.
I have spoken to my brother. I have acted toward him in a godly fashion, full of love and desire to understand. I have prayed for him consistently. And I strive, with all I have, to be patient. Still the sun has not risen in his heart. And now he has ordered me to stop speaking to him about such things. In fact, he has vowed to stop speaking to me altogether. The door to him is now slammed shut.
Here I sit, just outside his door, wondering and perplexed.
Let the wisdom of God be the wisdom of God. What more can I say? It is not mine to wield the mystery of salvation. It is simply mine to cast the seeds about, letting the wind of God direct their fall.
I cannot give the Living God counsel. It is mine simply to be faithful. In war we can watch as others are killed. And there is nothing we can do to stop it. In life, some will live and some will die. Who are we to say no to the One who has made all things perfectly well?
But I wonder. What are we learning through all this? What are we gaining through the loss that is so prevalent about us? Who are we, as we stand in the midst of a Slaughter? Hip deep in spiritual blood, what is the value is our life in Christ to those who die?
The answer lies in a language I have never heard. This puzzle piece fits perfectly in the vast array of God’s glorious eternity. God is not anxious about such a question. For he has had the answer long before the world was ever made.
Does this give me peace? The peace this gives me lives in the place I cannot translate. For still I am anxious to see Christ appear in my brother. And doesn’t every Christian feel the same?
Holy Father, we leave these things in your hand for that is where your wisdom has dictated it shall be. Salvation is yours. Still we pray in earnest that your love should appear.
“By Your Grace”, you have taught me. And I am convinced there is no other answer. Your strength is Christ Jesus. Still we beg you to move, yet according to your wisdom.