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“Abraham was only one man when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation.” Isaiah 51:2b (NLT)
IN MY NEW LIFE as a born-again Christian, one of the loneliest moments I feel is when I sense an opportunity to witness verbally for the Lord. No, I’m not proud of that, because I long for and pray for those opportunities.
The problem is, I often feel totally inadequate.
I am never certain of whether the moment actually is the right time, or if the person before me is a willing recipient.
I don’t know if I’ll sound like a self-righteous Bible-spouter filled with judgment and condemnation …
Or — and this is my hope — I’ll sound like the committed believer I really am, eager to share the Good News of my salvation and to extend an invitation to the other person.
In other words, in my mind, it’s all about me! Of course, I realize that’s not what the Bible teaches us. Jesus reminds us to “abide” in Him and He promises to “abide” or “remain” in us (John 15:4-7).
We are given assurance throughout Scripture of God’s faithfulness. The Bible tells us, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” — Psalm 37:5 (CSB)
Still, I know that, in that moment, all the other person will see is me standing or sitting in front of him or her while I feel very much like the weight of their eternity rests on my shoulders.
It does not, and I know it does not, but I still feel it does.
GOD IS FAITHFUL despite my inadequacies. If there is any failure to communicate the message of salvation, that fault rests with me. God has given me the gift of speech, the knowledge of Scripture, the heart to share, and I have prayed fervently for this opportunity.
Why then am I struck dumb with fear?
If I could write the script, I would place the encounter within a congenial conversation, with both of us sitting and sharing our observations of life.
Then, the conversation naturally would lend itself to giving a personal testimony. I don’t shrink from that situation, nor do I shrink from those conversations were the other person either asks me about my faith or even chides me about my faith.
Where I am fearful is when there is no obvious entry point to the conversation, when we’re rushing to go about our day, or when there is a palpable discomfort between the other person and me.
Is this the right moment? Perhaps so, perhaps not.
IF THE SITUATION involves a family member, then I am in greater anguish because I feel a greater responsibility, even though I know that if my listener rejects me or my message of hope, he or she actually is not rejecting me but really is rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 10:16).
Our Lord instructs us as parents to teach His ways to our children (Deuteronomy 11:19), so my failure to teach my daughters about the Lord when they were young weighs heavily on me, especially when I contemplate their eternal fate, if they don’t accept God’s offer of salvation.
Our Lord says the world’s sin is that it has rejected Him (John 16:9; Jeremiah 2:13), but Paul reminds us that they cannot accept what they have not been taught (Romans 10:14).
IN THE END, I need to trust in the Lord and His faithfulness, knowing that His love for my children and family members, my friends and neighbors, my co-workers and even total strangers who come into my life for a moment or two far outweighs the love I ever could have for them.
At the right time, He will tug at their heart, and then they will decide whether to accept the blessings He offers or continue to stumble in darkness (Rev. 3:20; John 6:44).
My job is to remain faithful to my Lord’s promptings, knowing that He remains with me forever (Matthew 28:19-20).
O Lord, merciful and mighty, come into our hearts in a big way, overwhelming us with love, forgiveness, grace, and compassion, so that we might share those blessings with all You call us to serve. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Questions for Personal Meditation and Discussion:
1. How do you feel when you are in conversation with someone and you sense God is giving you an opportunity to witness for your faith? Do you feel energized (you should!) or fearful (understandable). Afterward, how do you assess your obedience? Did you witness or let the opportunity pass?
2. Does God’s calling on your life seem real to you? Can you take in the idea that God calls you as a believer to minister to others, that it’s not just the job of professional church staff, missionaries, and those “specially called” but that He loves to use the simple, the humble, and the contrite of heart?
3. Can you imagine the thrill of meeting someone in Heaven who is there because you’ve lived your life as a model of grace and compassion or because you offered encouragement from the Lord that led them to conviction? Can you meditate on how amazing that would be?
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