Hope For Hard Cases

Who’s the hardened sinner in your life? You don’t really need to think about it.

It’s the son or daughter that you’ve been praying for for years. It’s the neighbor who gets wasted every Friday night. It’s your old college buddy who is now so rich that he doesn’t need God. It’s your mom, who at the age of 70 doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon. It’s the name that has been on your prayer list for the last decade.

It can be discouraging to pray for someone, share the gospel with them, love them, serve them, and not see any fruit. After a while we stop wondering when God will save them and start wondering if God can save them.

I think the Apostle Paul was meant to give us faith for the salvation of hardened sinners. In 1 Timothy 1:12-13, Paul writes:

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent.

Pre-Christian Paul made most sinners look like saints.

He was a blasphemer. He had a vendetta against Christians. He was insolent, arrogant, bloodthirsty, and angry. How many people imagined this guy getting saved?

But when Jesus decides to save someone, nothing can stop Him. Paul was on his way to collect, arrest, and possibly kill as many Christians as possible. Instead, he finds himself laying on the ground hearing the voice of Jesus. This is irresistible, powerful, eye-opening, heart-rending grace. Paul was a great sinner, Jesus was a greater Savior.

God can save your hardened son in a split-second. He can break down the walls of a drunken neighbor and melt the heart of a bitter mother. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop asking.

God saved Paul, He saved you, and He can save the hardened sinner in your life.

Originally published in October, 2009

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I’m married to Jen, and I have three kids. I know a lot about Star Wars, and I live in a van down by the river. I’ve also written a number of books, which people seem to like.


  1. says

    Dead on. It’s sometimes hard to remember in the long haul, but absolutely true. It’s also a relief to remember that it doesn’t depend on my will or working any more than it does on that of the person I’m praying for.

  2. Elaine says

    As long as there is breath, there is hope! Hard headed, hard hearted rebels are no problem for our God – ask me how I know.

  3. says

    "But when Jesus decides to save someone…" this is my hope, for His sake who died that we might live, Amen! What an encouraging piece. I needed this so much! God bless you!

  4. says

    Hallelujah and Amen – my testimony is too long to put here – but I know, you know :-) Thank You Lord, there are not enough words to say thank You – so let me keep on thanking You until I can sit at Your feet!

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