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In Their Misery They Will Seek God

by J. M. Farro on July 1st, 2018

   “Then I will go back to My place until they admit their guilt.  And they will seek My face; in their misery they will earnestly seek Me.”  Hosea 5:15 NIV

   When I heard from a young Christian man who asked for prayers for his wife, my heart went out to him.  As he described how she suddenly turned her back on him and their marriage, I could almost feel the pain and anguish in his heart.  Not only did this wife leave her husband behind, but she began living a shockingly immoral lifestyle that left him dumbfounded and confused.  I earnestly prayed for this couple and their marriage, knowing that God is a miracle-working God, and that nothing is impossible with Him.  That evening, I was listening to a sermon by one of the most well-respected evangelists of our time.  As he prayed aloud for those living in sin and apart from God, He declared, “Lord, make them miserable in their sin!”  I was stunned.  I had never heard anyone pray like this before, and I wondered if this kind of prayer was even scriptural.

   So I spent some time in focused prayer and Bible study, seeking an answer from the Lord.  That’s when the Holy Spirit led me to Hosea 5:15 (NIV) which says, “Then I will go back to My place until they admit their guilt.  And they will seek My face; IN THEIR MISERY they will earnestly seek Me.”  Here, because of their sin and guilt, the Lord withdraws from His people until they become miserable enough in their sin to turn away from it, and to turn to God once again.  I knew this was the confirmation from the Lord that I needed, and I began earnestly praying that He would make the wife of the man who wrote me so absolutely miserable in her sin day and night, that she would turn to God with all of her heart and soul.  I must tell you that in all my years, I have never seen someone living such a depraved lifestyle come out of their pit of sin so swiftly and completely.  This wife returned to the Lord AND her husband, and she began loving them sincerely, and living the life that God called her to.

   Scripture says, “But by means of their suffering, He rescues those who suffer.  For He gets their attention through adversity.” (Job 36:15 NLT)  Because some people will not turn – or RETURN – to the Lord unless they are suffering and miserable, there may be times when we will have to repeatedly ask the Lord to intensify their misery.  But we should never do it unless we have sought the Lord in prayer about it, and felt in our spirit that it is the right thing to do in His sight.  The fact is that we can’t always pray “fluffy” prayers for everyone all the time.  There’s simply too much at stake.  When we see people living in sin without a sense of remorse or repentance, it’s our responsibility as Christ-followers to pray for them to come to their senses and turn to the Lord – whatever it takes.  If these people are especially dear to us, it can be downright painful to pray for their misery.  But we have to remember that their eternal fate is most important to God, and so it should be to us.

   The Bible tells us that “though [the Lord] brings grief, He also shows compassion because of the greatness of His unfailing love.  For He does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.” (Lamentations 3:32-33 NLT)  God is not a sadist.  It’s His desire to do good to everyone.  But because of His just and righteous nature, He cannot condone or excuse wrongdoing, or bless disobedience.  So there are times when He must withdraw from wrongdoers, and allow them to suffer the consequences of their unwise actions.  As their disobedience opens the door for Satan to come into their lives to “steal, kill, and destroy,” they become prime targets for the dark forces and all of their malicious plans and purposes. (John 10:10)  Unfortunately, this is what it will take for some people to come to their senses.

   I encourage you to ask the Lord if there is anyone you know who could benefit from some “misery” prayers right now.  Then listen carefully for His voice as He speaks to you from His heart about those who need Him in their lives in a greater way!

   Lord, thank You for filling me with Your Spirit to help me pray according to Your will. (Romans 8:26-27)  Teach me how to pray prayers that will make a real difference in people’s lives – not just for today, but for all eternity.  Help me to devote myself to Your Word, so that my mind will be renewed to Your truth, and I will become more sensitive to Your voice at all times.  Deliver me from the tendency to pray weak and wimpy prayers, and instill in me a boldness that will pray the bold prayers that You desire.  Thank You that as I follow Your will in this area, You will use me to touch and change lives for Your glory!

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