March 10, 2020
“But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood” (Ezekiel 33:6, NIV 1984).
He was a friend. He and I worked closely together in both clinical and academic medicine. He was a man with no faith in God, a cynic. Though I prayed regularly for God to give me the words to tell him about Jesus, I never spoke them. I was faithful and kind as a colleague, helped him in a career crisis, wore my lapel cross, but never mentioned Jesus. I learned today that he was one who died in that horrific dive-boat fire near Santa Cruz.
I had come to believe that praying for God to guide me in my witness and waiting on Him to tell me when to speak was God’s best path for Christian witness. I followed these principles intentionally with my friend, and he never heard the gospel from my lips. Should I have pushed the Holy Spirit harder with my prayers, or could I have listened more attentively as God whispered for me to speak? Or am I just missing God’s best plan for witness?
How deliberate and bold should we be with the Good News? Certainly, we should pray for those we know who are lost. We should ask God to speak through our actions and to prompt us to speak words of testimony and faith. But, this man who was my friend and is now dead makes me wonder if this is enough. Perhaps we should speak more boldly, even when we do not feel the Spirit’s urging. After all, we have the mandate of Christ to share His words with all nations.
Do we need to wait until His urging overcomes our insecurities before we speak?
If I had known that this man would die suddenly, would I have spoken the name of Christ, even without recognizing God’s direction to do so? Was it my lack of courage, or my lack of caring, or my lack of hearing that left this man with consequences forever? Did I fail as his watchman on the wall? God knows.
I am still on the watchtower. There are others who have yet to hear the trumpet sound.
Bless this man and his family. Bring him to your heaven in spite of my silence.