(Photo by Will Swann on Unsplash)
The king's heart is like a stream of water directed
by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases.
Who can God use? The short answer is anyone. King Cyrus is one such example of an unlikely person God used to fulfill His purposes. Cyrus was the pagan king of Persia. He did not know the God of Israel. When he came into power, the Jews had been in captivity for nearly 70 years, the number of years prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer. 25:11). Ezra 1:1-4 tells us God stirred the heart of Cyrus in the first year of his reign (538BC) to make a proclamation allowing the Jewish captives to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple of God. One-hundred and fifty years earlier, Isaiah had prophesied this would happen (Is. 44:28).
It's true this was a specific time in history, but it shows that God can do anything he chooses to do. His ways are not our ways, so when we pray for the return of our prodigal, we can remember that this is a way that God worked in the past and He can do it again if it pleases Him. Listen to what God said of Cyrus:
This is what the Lord says to Cyrus, his anointed one, whose right hand he will empower. Before him, mighty kings will be paralyzed with fear. Their fortress gates will be opened, never to shut again. This is what the Lord says: "I will go before you Cyrus, and level the mountains. I will smash down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness--secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. And why have I called you for this work? Why did I call you by name when you did not know me? It is for the sake of Jacob my servant, Israel, my chosen one...I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people--without seeking reward! I, the Lord, of Heavens Armies, have spoken!" Is. 45:1-5,13
It may seem like quite a stretch to compare how God used King Cyrus to free His people, Israel, with how God might use an unbeliever today to bring freedom to our wayward one. But it is best not to limit God or tell Him how He should go about restoring our prodigals. Do you think this would have ever been an Israelite's plan of how they could get free? Probably not. When God does something in a dramatic or unlikely way, we know it is Him.
So keep praying and asking God to restore your loved one. He has a plan and it might be in an unlikely way and using a person we could never have imagined being used. There is no prophecy given using our prodigal by name, but we can claim promises God does give, and we can align ourselves with His plan by submitting to Him and leaving our prodigal in His care. We can remind ourselves that God can use anyone.