July 3, 2018
“When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him” (Acts 7:54, NIV 1984).
My wife’s sister had a severe bout of pneumonia recently, and she is living with us for a few weeks while she recuperates. God bless my wife. The two of them are as different as rice and coal. They drive each other crazy, and my wife often is heavily weighed down by her sister’s actions and lack of appreciation. She was crying with me about this one morning recently. I came home that evening and she said she and her sister had talked. “The first thing I said to her was, ‘Do you know that you will have eternal life when you die?’” What seems an abrupt and unnatural question to me, given the circumstances, led to a wonderful time of renewal both of personal faith and of sisterly love.
I am stuck on this idea that the gospel needs to fit smoothly and naturally into the conversation. That’s a great idea and is usually true, but God doesn’t always work this way. I need to be open to His leading when He does not, just like my beautiful wife in a moment of desperation with her sister.
Sometimes the gospel just needs to be shared in a desperate way. Sometimes there is no natural path into a conversation about Jesus, and yet we are convinced the Holy Spirit is compelling us to dare greatly and push forward with the truth. In these moments, if guided by God’s Spirit, we should share our testimony of faith, however uncomfortable. It is then God’s task to pick up any pieces of hostility or injured relationship and mold them into His redemptive purpose.
Of course, most of the time our faith is best expressed in humble authenticity as God leads. But we must be listening if God demands an awkward and even explosive presentation of the gospel, the kind of presentation that got Stephen stoned.
Let me be bold when your Spirit speaks.