What does Alexander the Great have to do with your unbelieving family?
In 334 B.C. the people of God longed for the Messiah, hoped for His appearance, craved His deliverance. Instead, they got Alexander the Great invading Asia Minor, which began a 10-year run of violence that had him reigning over the Mediterranean world.
In the moment, it was hard to see what was happening, but Alexander was a glory-hungry pawn in the plan of God. Amidst the violence and bloodshed, God was behind the scenes preparing the world for Jesus.
Alexander’s troops were from different cities and regions where each had their own Greek dialect. This made communication difficult, and they needed a common language. His troops became a linguistic melting pot that eventually produced a common language known as koine, or common Greek. And by the time Jesus arrived, everyone in the Mediterranean world spoke koine as either their primary or secondary language. This is the Greek of the New Testament.
Alexander united the Greek language, which God used to cause the message of Jesus to explode throughout the known world. Alexander the Great served the mission of God, even if he didn’t know it and the people didn’t see it.
Galatians 4:4 says “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son.” As Jesus broke into humanity at the perfect, God-ordained time, He also breaks into our lives at the perfect, God-ordained time. For me, it was 22. For my mother, it was 54. For my dad at 67, I’m still waiting – waiting for the fullness of time to arrive in his life and for Jesus to enter in.
Many of you are like me, with parents, brothers, sisters and even children who are hardened to Jesus. I know this can be disheartening, even despairing. But let me encourage you: This does not mean the Lord is not at work; it just means we cannot see it. The Lord has us walking by faith, praying, persuading and loving our families toward Jesus.
The challenge for me is that I don’t want to walk by faith; I want to walk by sight. I want to see what God is doing or not doing. I want what Adam and Eve wanted; I want to know. This is sin that breeds despair that leads to hopelessness. Despair is the result of fixing our eyes on the situation and not the solution. It’s the result of fixing our eyes on people and not on Jesus.
If this is where you find yourself, looking at your parents, children, brothers, sisters or anyone and feeling hopeless, maybe even numb to the reality of their eternal trajectory, I’ve been there. In seasons like that, let me encourage you to pursue the example of both the Psalms and Paul. In the Psalms, we find men pouring out their heart to God, unashamedly asking for deliverance, and in Paul, we find a man who would fight for an unshakable joy that prison cells and stoning could not affect. Together, they provide a good model for walking through heartache.
It’s good for us to pour out our hearts and plead with God for the salvation of our families. God hears, knows, cares and loves you. In the midst of these cries, we have to fight for our joy and hope to be rooted in Jesus – our eternal treasure. And who knows? The Lord may just use your tears and joy to invite your family into your eternal family.