God’s Desire for All
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9
On Saturday, terrorists attacked a number of locations in Paris killing over 150 people and leaving hundreds injured. Within hours the news of these attacks traveled around the world and believers began praying for the victims and their families which is a very appropriate response. We pray for peace, healing, comfort, safety and so many other things but are we missing something that is much more important?
In the verse above, Simon Peter is talking to believers about the Lord’s return. Some of the believers were struggling because they felt that the Lord should come soon so Peter was trying to reassure them that He would come but that it would be in God’s time, not theirs. Peter emphasizes that God is patient because He wants everyone to come to repentance. Does this mean that everyone will choose a relationship with Jesus Christ? No, but God is not in a hurry to end people’s chances to make that choice.
So what does all of this have to do with how we pray for others after a crisis like the one that just occurred in Paris? We should be praying that the surviving victims, their friends and their families would recognize the need to have their sins forgiven and to have a relationship with the Savior. Physical healing, emotional healing, peace and comfort, all of these are things that can only truly happen in a person’s life when they choose a relationship with God. God’s ultimate desire for them is that they would come to repentance.
There is one more group of people that we should be praying for but often we don’t. We should also be praying for the surviving terrorists, their friends and loved ones. God does not distinguish between sins. In Romans 3:23 we find these words, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. We like to think that our sin is not as bad as those who murder and maim but in God’s eyes sin is sin. God desires for all to come to a place of repentance and relationship with Him.
Our God is a just God but He is also a compassionate God who desperately wants people to repent and find forgiveness through Jesus Christ. He is ready and willing to cleanse all who come and to make them His children, His heirs. If we have truly experienced His forgiveness then we should want the same for others.