Thomas gave me a very sweet compliment on one Saturday afternoon. He said that my persistence in conversations when sharing the gospel astounded him. I had never really thought about it before, but now I realize with joy the blessing of my persistence.
See, Jesus won’t stop at an awkward silence, a misunderstanding, an insult, or a cutting remark to let people know that they are His beloved. How do I know that? Because that didn’t stop Him from 2000 years ago dying for these very people. If He is willing to stand through the awkward silences of Pontius Pilate’s questions, to persevere through the misunderstandings of the religious leaders and His own disciples, to listen to the crowds insult Him and to let guards whip Him and nail Him to a cross, then yes. Jesus, yes, I will do whatever it takes for these people around me to know that You love them. That it’s You that’s been loving them all along.
“Then yes. Jesus, I will do whatever it takes
for these people around me to know that You love them.
That it’s You that’s been loving them all along.“
Two Saturdays ago I met John, a 19-year old sitting outside of a hair salon during a pride parade in North Carolina. John’s mother’s girlfriend was inside getting bedazzled for a performance later that afternoon in the parade. He wore flannel and had his blond hair shaved in a crew cut. I sat beside him and we started a conversation. With simple questions like: Are you from around here? Where’d you go to high school? Did you play any sports? Turns out he likes to swim and in a few weeks will be heading off to start his training to become a Navy Seal.
God used this to bring to my mind a spiritual story about my friend who experienced God drastically rescue her from drowning. We laughed about the crazy coincidence that a man named Jesus rescued her. And there was a subtle shift in the tone of our conversation, he may not have even noticed it, but it was the Spirit moving. He had prepared the way, navigated to something John related to – rescuing others from dangerous situations in water. Something he was about to embark on as part of the new mission of his life.
Sensing the handiwork of the Spirit, I just flat-out told him, “John, I was praying earlier as I walked down the street and God led me to sit by You and ask about your life.” The eyebrow raise, awkward chuckle, and sudden lack of eye contact informed me that this was officially an awkward moment. But thankfully, I understood that the gospel is worth more than my comfort and so I pressed on and asked, “Is there anything going on in your life I could pray about for you?” “Nope” I pressed in and asked one more question, “Is there anything in your life that you’re weak at?” and he laughed, nodded, and explained with a few not-so-nice words how he did a terrible job of picking out girlfriends.
His openness with me gave me a door to step through to get to the gospel and I took it, in my awkward way, with my awkward words I’m sure. But guess what?!
We don’t need to have the “right” words, but we do desperately need to listen and obey the Holy Spirit.
Pause to Consider
Do you ever feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit to talk with someone about your faith? God’s love? What you’re learning about from Jesus?
What is it that keeps you from acting on that nudge? Take some time today to examine those reasons that keep you from obeying God.
Feel free to share what your reasons are with us and how God challenges you to get past those reasons.
If you can, read Acts 2.22-41 for encouragement.