Someone I know had recently posted a link on his facebook page about the perils of Christopher Hitchens, an atheist who publicly abhors God and His existence, and is now afflicted with cancer.
Many Christians debated on whether this atheist should be considered for prayers of any kind for the restoration of his health, or the salvation of his soul that he may make it to heaven if the cancer were to prevail.
Now, I am for sure no Mother Theresa but if Hitchens were to be my biggest enemy, what is it then that I am advised to do?
Let's say for example...as Christians, our soul desire was to please God and replicate His heart. Father God then presents us with a perfect opportunity that we may reflect His heart and instead out spring a multitude of issues. The voices within become loud enough that chants of 'crucify' become audible as some Christians reportedly pray for Hitchens to die.
Those that cried 'crucify' when Christ was being tried had every right to, because by law, He was breaking all the rules. But overcome by the law because of His own dispensation meant He was living under grace, the curse of the law had been broken. The liberty to judge had been overruled by grace.
This is the same grace that allows so many to walk free. It is the same grace that overlooks our transgressions and allows us an open window to get it right. It is the same open window that allows us to pray on behalf of those that are still blinded, whether they receive the prayers or reject it. Christ prayed 'forgive them Father for they know not what they do', how more so should we follow suit?
Having Christopher Hitchens brought to attention, (it's the first time I've ever heard about this guy in fact), I associated his situation to that of Saul of Tarsus. Saul was a well known atheist, such is Christopher Hitchens. Saul, even went so far as to kill Christians.
Ananias, a Christian, was commanded, by God, to pray for Saul of Tarsus and give to him a message with the intentions of salvation and healing, for his purpose was to spread the amazing gospel message of love and freedom. As Ananias prayed for the restoration of Saul's sight, he was healed. Ananias's intercessory prayer had taken effect.
Ananias: 'What was that dear Lord? Pray? Lord - You so funny! I thought I just heard you ask me to pray for Saul!! I am now, right now, roaring with laughter. Like get on my knees, open my mouth, and lift this man up to you?'
If God, in His own right, can choose to save Saul, who was more of a tyrant than Christopher Hitchens - Saul didn't write a book about how 'God Is Not Great' like Hitchens - he hacked and chopped and killed Mothers, Fathers, Sisters and Brothers of those who voiced that God was.
Some have said it is absurd to pray for others in the hope that God may intervene, and that it borders on insanity to think prayers can alter God's decision. I am fully assured that as Abraham rationing with God for the salvation of some in Soddom and Gomorrah made such a difference as did Moses' plea for the people of Israel, that in fact, God can change His mind, and intercessory prayer does prove to make a big difference.
Who are we to proclaim that this man should die in his sin, because he chose to speak against the very One who created him yet still unconditionally loves him? If the One can still love man and has a heart to save man, that being His soul purpose, what makes us think we are contrary to this unconditional show of affection?
'Well, he made his own bed, he should lie in it. The fool doesn't want to know about God anyway' some say. I wonder where I would be when others were telling me about Christ, yet prayed and preserved for my salvation when I repeatedly rejected Him?
We know that Saul became Paul, the chief sinner, the great apostle who wrote most of the new testimony under the inspiration of the spirit of God. If Saul were to be discredited, as some are discrediting this 20th century atheist, what hope is there for any of us? What hope is there for the family member who holds the same views as Hitchens?
'Cha man, leave da man dem fi die in im sin suh! Hell fire done bun 'im see!'
'Ah! Chale! I be dey chop and knock da foolish man's head with stone until he is chewing the ground he walks on oh!'
'Jeeves, please I asked for some tea, not a sermon. I need not hear you regurgitate news of some unfortunate man who simply chooses his own fate'.
This must be the voice of God we hear then right? Since we are so holy and righteous being made in His image, well off course that is what God would say. I mean, this is exactly what God would say.
Or is it?