What happens when people you've walked with, walk away and don't want to come back?
That can be a challenging time, especially with friends and people we've loved and loved walking with. When we choose a different path or higher way of traveling with the Lord, not everyone will want to join us. But those challenges also offer us tremendous opportunities.
In my years of working with Graham, one of the truths that I've always seen exemplified is the value God has for freedom. We are never the actual door to anyone's next experience of God. We may be facilitators or catalysts, but ultimately, Jesus is the Door (John 10: 7 & 9). We always have to enter in through our own relationship with Him... or commitments that are made rarely last.
We can offer people opportunities, but they must choose to them out of their own relationship with God. We can present God's elevated perspective, but everyone chooses whether or not they desire to look through those lenses.
All of Jesus' disciples walked (or more accurately: ran) away from Him - and He didn't chase after any of them. He spoke about that with Peter (Luke 22:31-34), not addressing the details of his desertion, but to his restoration and the fruit of who Peter could become: a strengthener of his brothers.
It's interesting to note that when Jesus told Peter that, "Satan has asked to sift you like wheat," the Lord's reply wasn't "And I told Him he couldn't." Jesus promised to pray for Peter, that his faith would not fail...especially Peter's faith in the redemptive nature of grace after he discovered that he wasn't as strong as he thought he was. Jesus was giving him the provision he needed to make it, but all the choices were still Peter's to make.
At some point, we lovingly entrust those who walk away into the hands of Jesus, knowing He intercedes for them. God may have brilliant things ahead for them that we may not see. Who knows? (Oh yeah...that would be Him!)
If people walk away from relationships or ministry and have no interest in returning, it's not our job to try to hold on to them. It may just be Jesus and you traveling together for a while, with the Father and Holy Spirit. Those are wonderful times. In that place, we can trust God to connect us to those who are ready to travel in new places when the time is right.
Graham's corporate prophetic word from the Expectation conference has some beautiful thoughts on this. You might enjoy listening to it:
Click here: https://www.brillianttv.com/packages/expectation/videos/session-6b-episode-1