fail or not fail.

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fail or not fail.

Post  Evelyn on Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:03 am

Hi team,

The other day, I took the train down to Chicago after work to meet up with some old high school friends, see a show, hang out, etc. My best friend has a little brother who still lives in the neighborhood, and he'd wanted to come, so I picked him up and we took the Metra together into Chicago. He's going to be a junior in the fall. Anyway, he's a bright kid, artistic, morose sense of humor, prone to over-thinking things, etc. Somehow we got onto talking about the Bible, and he goes, "Yeah. About the Bible. Do you take everything in it literally?" It should be a simple yes or no question. I should have said no, and explained the purposes of the books of law in the Old Testament, how they were metaphors and prefigurations of the sacrifices required to draw near to a holy God, etc. But instead I just said "Yes," nervously adding, "Well, there are narratives and then there's poetry. Narratives are meant to be read as narratives and poetry is meant to be read as poetry. Which parts? There's no way I can answer that question without qualifying the answer." And he's like, "OK, then. How about Jesus?"

So we talked about Jesus, the resurrection, whether or not he was really divine, how anyone could possibly have enough evidence to believe in that, etc. I answered everything I could to the best of my knowledge and ability. I didn't really feel God with me as I shared. I wondered if my words were just hitting a dead wall. He started asking about hell and I thought, "GREAT--my favorite lose-lose topic. I either lose for being politically incorrect or theologically inaccurate. Time to pick my favorite poison." But I won't lie, so I tell him about hell. And he raises the natural objection, "Why would a loving God send people to hell? Why would he create hell?"

Honestly, I don't think about hell very much in my times of Christian reflection, but when he asked, "Why would he create hell?" immediately the answer came to mind: God didn't create hell for humans. I told him so, and the words came naturally out of my mouth. "God made hell to judge Satan. It's not for humans. God created humans to love and enjoy God forever, but the only reason why humans go to hell is because they are tainted by sin."

Anyway, it was a long conversation (an hour-and-a-half train ride). I shared what I could, like how to confess sin and accept Christ, and then we got to Chicago. I think he felt pretty awkward and didn't feel comfortable around me after that. After the night's events, when we were walking back to the station, he told me, "Um... I think I'm just going to sleep on the train, so..." ...Yeah. We ended up having his sister drive us home instead, but anyway, I knew he didn't really want to repeat that kind of heavy conversation again. I try not to take it personally, but when people respond like that, I always wonder, "Did I say something wrong?" To be honest, in that kind of situation, I always wish it were some other Christian sharing the Gospel instead of me. I look at myself and am often tempted to think, "...Maybe I make the Gospel look bad. Maybe I shouldn't even be sharing until I get my act together. Maybe someone more loving should do it. Maybe I talk too much. Maybe I'm not really good at this."

Then I remember that the core of Christianity is offensive to most learned people, who want to believe in strength of human potential, etc. As my head hit the pillow last night, I recalled Jesus' words: "The world hates you because it hates me."

So maybe I didn't do anything wrong. Maybe I was doing the right thing, but just didn't appear to succeed like Tobias and the kids with their "free prophecy" signs. But then I remember that in God's kingdom, success isn't always about seeing your goals come to fruition the way you think that they should--it's about staying faithful, walking by faith, not by sight, and letting God take care of the rest.

Of course, said faithfulness requires faith! And I waver a lot on that. So pray for this guy, and pray for me. Frankly, I'm better at "talking the talk" than "walking the walk." That's why I always feel so lousy when I share the Gospel. I'm like... geez. I'm not good at this at all. But whatever. I guess God just used me because I was there, or something. At least, I hope he did, and that I wasn't just talking out of my ear.

Wee.......... scratch
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Evelyn

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^-^

Post  lingpiduh on Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:31 pm

Good for you, sharing with him about God is a great thing. You seem to have the argument spot on from my opinion, God doesn't need for us to be of some certain caliber in order to use us to save his lost sheep, he just needs us to be willing to be obedient. Capability wise, we can't even convince each other over things like politics much less the answer to the question of our existences. Anything that causes a person to change their hearts to follow God is definitely God moving and not our own expertise in persuasion.

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Re: fail or not fail.

Post  Evelyn on Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:09 pm

Thanks Peter. Even though I realize that it's all God, I still worry about messing things up. But you're right.
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