Read Romans 9:1-5.
Few things do Christians today need more than “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” (vs.2) over those who are yet to believe. Sorrow and anguish, not anger and resentment. Not indifference and apathy. Sorrow and anguish! Feel the weight of these words; consider how they’re used elsewhere in Scripture.
Sorrow. It’s the word Matthew used to paint the picture of Jesus’ spirit when he entered Gethsemane’s Garden the night just hours before he would take upon himself the sins of the whole world (Matt.26:38). Luke, the physician, used it to describe the disciples when Jesus found them sleeping in the Garden, “exhausted from sorrow” (Lk. 22:45).
Anguish. Luke used the word to portray Mary’s heart when her young son had been missing three days and could not be found (Luke 2:48). It’s the word that depicted how the Christians in gathered at Miletus responded to Paul’s telling them that they would never see him again. (Acts 20:38). Paul used the word to relate the experience of Christians who, reminiscent of Judas, had traded their faith for money and who now lived an agonized existence (1 Tim. 6:10).
“Great sorrow and unceasing anguish.” Weighty words, indeed! And where is this weight among God’s people today for those who do not yet know Jesus Christ?
Father God, give me the grace of this burden in spirit and never let it release its grasp on me. Grow within me a heart that truly yearns and agonizes over the rescue of others so that I spend my life being an instrument of your deliverance to them. As their sins break your heart, may they break mine as well. May this burden not crush me, but may it impel me, inspire me and drive me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.