3/20/14 Matt about 40
Matt, about 40, let me know in a coffeeshop outreach conversation that, while he didn’t really know if God or an afterlife existed, he was interested in talking about the possibility. I asked “Have you ever had any sort of spiritual experience?” He thought about it a minute. “Actually, now that I think about it, I did.” I thought he might tell me a story of a near-death experience, or an encounter with a spirit, or a strange dream. But what he told me was better than all that. “There was a time, years ago, when I had committed a very serious sin. I tried to hide it and ignore it, but couldn’t. I finally confessed and asked for forgiveness. I felt a wave of relief come over me, like I’d never felt before. I really felt forgiven.” As Matt told me about it I could tell he was reliving the memory, and he became much warmer to the things of God. Whether that original feeling of forgiveness was a genuine born-again experience or just a taste of what could be isn’t for me to decide. What I do know is it has left him open to at least talking about the possibility that God exists, and by the end of our conversation he was talking more like it was an established fact. I see this often, people who are fairly cold to spiritual things at first but warming up to it as memories of past experiences with God start to take over the urgency of the here and now. As Christians, we know the importance of our quiet time with God in prayer and with His word, taking a breather every so often from our problems and preoccupations to remember who He is and what He has done in history and in our own lives. Why shouldn’t we help those outside of faith to do the same thing?