9/10/13 Nick 19
After a discipleship meeting with Elias, a faithful brother (and a Spanish lesson for me) we decided to go for a prayerwalk. One of our prayers was for someone to share the gospel with. We rounded a corner and saw a guy named Nick sitting across the street on his front steps. Because Elias and I both looked over at the same time, Nick thought we were giving the “hard look” – the same look gang members use to intimidate one another – so he yelled at us “Hey, you guys got a problem or something?” “No, I was just trying to decide if I should ask you an interesting question” I replied, walking across the street toward him with a smile on my face. Nick was surprised, but said “Go ahead”, so I asked for his beliefs about eternity. He was immediately sorry about his belligerent attitude, but said he didn’t believe in God because he couldn’t believe a loving God would allow him to lose his loved ones, listing a number of close family members he has lost recently. This wasn’t the time in the conversation for a theological explanation, it was a time for compassion so I showed him some: “Well I’m a Christian from a church nearby, but I’m not going to pretend to know why God allowed your loved ones to die.” I said. We talked a while and eventually I was able to tell him that as Christians we understand that God doesn’t keep bad things from happening in our lives, but He does promise to be right there with us through them all. Later, after sharing the Gospel and the just penalty for our sin, I was able to explain a little more about how Christians can handle loss; that as a result of our sin we understand that we don’t deserve anything but God’s wrath and that every day of life is a precious gift of mercy from God[JJR1] . I told about my grandparents, how they had opposite reactions to the loss of their oldest daughter – who would have been my aunt –in a car accident. My grandma drew nearer to God, depending on His comfort to get her through, but my grandpa became bitter and angry at God. Nick could see he could go either way, and began to recant his earlier statements about not believing in God. “My girlfriend is a Christian, and she’s been trying to convince me to believe and come to church with her. She’ll be mad to find out I listened to a stranger and wouldn’t listen to her” he said. Could it be that his “anger” at God was a way to get her attention, while keeping her from telling him some of the harder truths of the Gospel? Could this be another example of how a stranger on the street might be able to share Gospel truths that a close friend or loved one cannot? Just sayin’….