I almost stopped praying for a certain request. I had been asking the Lord for the restoration of a relationship between my friend (incarcerated these nine years) and his children. I had used as a springboard the very last verse of the very last book of the Old Testament: "And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers . . ." (Malachi 4:6).
But after two years of straining to see the fist-sized cloud on the horizon in response to David's decade of overtures and fasting, I have started to taper off. I have begun to think that perhaps it is not God's will. Perhaps this alienation of affection is the natural consequence of sin that David will have to bear, and we should cease and desist from bothering the Judge any longer. Perhaps we have gone "a bridge too far" in prayer.
But lately I remembered another friend who was estranged from his son for decades after a divorce, and who in later life experienced a rapprochement-and this man cares nothing for God. Yet the God of mercy "makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good" (Matthew 5:45). How much more will He be pleased to favor the son for whom he died (Romans 5:10; Matthew 7:11)?
Moreover, did God not promise that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Do I really believe that? He has been known to wait until there is no human hope before He rolls up His sleeves; He tarries till Lazarus is cold and smelly, to make things perfectly unambiguous. He makes dry bones to rise up and walk. "For nothing will be impossible with God" (Luke 1:37). Do I believe that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8)?
When unbelief comes calling, it speaks like sweet reasonableness. But I can find no instance in the Bible when a person is rebuked for too much faith.