To my sister:
When you said that you wanted to go to college, I was glad for you, but I was afraid too. College is a world of its own, and there are so many pitfalls there for the Christian woman, even at schools that claim to follow Christ. Were you ready? But who is ever ready?
A few weeks before you began, you and I went on a long walk and I told you the things that I had learned about my own college journey, and the things that I wish I had done better.
Of Power and Love: Why I'm Not Waiting To Become The Perfect Messenger In Order to Tell People About Jesus
Many years have passed since that awkward attempt, and I’ve learned a few things along the way. Here they are:
Recently, my church has been making evangelism a priority, by hosting an Evangelism Seminar and by continuing discussions about evangelism in our home groups. Although we all agree on the importance of evangelism, everyone admits that witnessing is often something awkward, uncomfortable, or even nerve-wracking. So how do we best go about sharing our faith with others?
To be clear, evangelism is not my spiritual gifting. That said, as I learn, I would like to share what I find to be effective. Today's idea is simply this: Pray with people.
When my attempts to share my faith do not go well, I make a decision: I will not go out of my way to create opportunities, but I will simply glorify God in everything I do. God’s answer to my new focus astounds me.
Question: What opportunities have you had to share your faith? How did they come about?
The woman’s world had just fallen apart. Her son, who was deathly allergic to bee stings, had been doing lawn work when he came upon a nest of ground bees. He never even made it to the house for his Epi-pen.
While the woman and her family grieved over his death, the local Jehovah’s Witnesses heard of the tragedy and sent meals to her home, reaching out lovingly with genuine concern.
This shocked the woman. She was Catholic, and her church made no such efforts. Before long, she had joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses and was going door to door with them, sharing her story.
The Message of Compassion
I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness, nor do I ever intend to be, but when I heard this story about a woman in my own community, it resonated deeply with me.
“You mean to tell me that you try to be honest—all the time?” The man (whom I'll call Bill) looked incredulously at Dad.
“Yes,” Dad replied. “I mean, I’m human. I mess up sometimes. But it’s what I strive for.”
“This is part of your religion, right?”
“It’s part of having a relationship with Christ,” Dad answered. “I take it very seriously.”
“Not even little white lies?”
Making my way to the airport gate, I basked in the stunned delight of one who has just experienced the blessing of God through prayer.
Earlier, as I climbed aboard the shuttle bus that would take me from one side to the other of the massive airport, I found just enough room to squeeze myself next to an elderly woman before the bus choked with passengers. The elderly woman smiled warmly at me, and I smiled back.
The conversation came easily. Soon the elderly woman shared a number of difficult situations she had endured in the last year—her son’s sudden death of cancer that no one knew he had, her own battles with cancer, and more. The weight of her burden settled upon me as she spoke.
How could I simply nod and murmur sympathies when this woman spoke of deep pain?
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.