As a pastor, it is always hard to see one of your members “drifting” away. There is this tension of wanting to help them and just letting them go. But how can you help someone when they do not want help or see the need for help? How can you just let them go and watch them fall deeper into sin and experience the unnecessary heartache and pain of sin?
Regardless of whether you are a pastor or not, we have all felt the anguish of trying to help a loved one who is slowly drifting away. It is not easy.
One thing I have learned over the years is that we have to guard our hearts from the two extremes – either we play the role of God and try too hard on our own efforts to bring them back or we become cynical and detached from the situation.
Those of us who have drifted away before know that both of the extremes do not work very well. The more we try to control people, the further they run away; while on the other hand, the more aloof we become, the more shame and guilt they feel when they want to return.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to patiently and passionately fighting for our driftee through prayer. When we pray, it reminds us that we are not God and we do not have everything in our control. Prayer causes us to trust in God because God loves the person more than we can ever love them. Also, when we pray, God changes us. God begins to develop our heart of love and compassionate towards the person as we pray.
This is what happened with a father when his younger son drifted away from home and then came home repentant:
The joy that is always experienced when a person returns to God, the Father is indescribable. This is what we long for, this is what we patiently and passionately pray for – we are fighting for them on our knees!