Always Be Ready…

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It was an ordinary workday. Like most, I had joined my colleagues in the lunchroom. The conversation was well under way when I arrived, yet they quickly pulled up a chair for me to join in. I pasted a smile on my face as I realized the topic was one of my least favorites. And decided to simply listen politely.

When I couldn’t take it any longer. The conversation was shifting to something I was passionate about defending: My Redeemer.

Bin Laden is proof there is no God. Unless God is cruel cuz there’s no way a good god could let a man like that do what he does. If that’s the case, I don’t want to know God, anyway.”

Friends, I was one in leadership and knew I wasn’t supposed to express my personal beliefs in the workplace. But I also knew I couldn’t sit silent. I’d never forgive myself.

It was out before I had even thought it through.

I don’t want to know his mother.” I uttered almost under my breath.

Instant silence. All eyes on me. My eyes on my plate.

What did you say, Nicole?”

I set my toasted sandwich down, met his gaze and reminded myself to breathe.

I said I don’t want to know Osama’s mother. How can she sit idly by and watch the chaos that comes from her son’s bloody hands? How can she live with herself?”

It’s now that I fully understand the word fervently. For that’s how I was praying.

Nicole, I can’t wait to see you become a mother. You know how little control parents have of their kids once they become adults. In fact, parents have less control over how their kids end up than they realize. Besides, the culture over there…” his voice trails in his own thoughts.

My eyes find my sandwich once again. I pick it up as I try to say coolly,

Sometimes I wonder if that’s how God feels. He may control earth’s orbit, but what makes you think He controls how we as people act with one another? We’re not puppets. He doesn’t take over Bin Laden any more than Osama’s own mother. And I’m certain the good God I believe in had better plans for Bin Laden than the path he’s freely chosen.

All stares peel off me and strike the man seeking for truth. Our eyes meet and I pray once again. May this man see Christ within me. May he come to me if he wants to know more….panic suddenly hits as I have no idea what I would say if he does!

Another saves him by changing the subject and soon the 30 second episode is forgotten. Except to me…and I was hoping him…

~~~~~~~~~~

This years-old incident came to mind recently while reading this verse:

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope,
always be ready to explain it.
I Peter 3:15

I couldn’t help but ask myself:

Am I always ready to explain the hope found in Christ?

Oh friends, somewhere along the line, I feel like we’ve complicated things. We’ve gotten wrapped up in more than the basic truth. So much so that the simplistic realization of Christian hope is often forgotten when needed most.

I don’t know about you, but I’m striving to change that. I want to be ready to explain the hope of Christ to anyone, anywhere, any way possible.

The other day, I sat down to write out how I would respond if someone asked me to explain away. And was so ashamed at how long it took me to write a single thing down.

You see, I have been through Billy Graham’s salvation training. I’ve been a Bible Camp Counselor. I hold a Bible degree. I’ve memorized the Romans road. I know the hope of Christ. I do. And yet, it doesn’t feel right.

Because God didn’t use Romans to save me. Simply memorizing scripture and spewing off impersonal facts is not the purest picture of Christ’s hope — the one I know deep down in my soul…and isn’t that what He’s asked me to share? The story He has given me personally? Isn’t that what I should always be ready to explain? How He’s saved me?

How about you, friend? Are you ready to explain your Christian hope? How would you? I’d love to hear.

And very soon, I will share mine…

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

A follow-up: The man mentioned has contacted me. He shared with me how he had been hurt severely by a church. There are also a few incidents in his childhood that have kept him from seeking God. It is still an ongoing conversation between us as he continues to reach out to me on occasion. I would appreciate your prayers as I keep striving to show him the healing truth.

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23 thoughts on “Always Be Ready…

  1. I want to have words ready too – but I’m not sure what I’d say. Your words today have given me much to think about. Thanks so much for sharing and encouraging.

    I’m praying for you as you share God’s love and I’m praying for this man to receive it.

    • I appreciate your prayers so much, Jamie. Please know I am returning them for you as well. I’m starting to realize I don’t have to have something prepared that I need to memorize ready or anything. That’s what was throwing me for a loop for so long. no. I simply need to be open enough to share how I’m seeing the hope of Christ today. now. with anyone willing to listen. Don’t you think that’s what the verse is saying? Still pondering…

      So glad we can do this journey together. Thank you!!

  2. nikki,
    as always I love your honesty. What is the purpose of truth if it isn’t used to shine a light into dark places? I appreciate your confession that you aren’t always ready — I know how that feels. But I love that verse in 1 Peter. Always be prepared to give an answer for the HOPE that you have in Christ Jesus — not expertise, or great knowledge, or a degree or ministry experience– but hope. That we can talk about, that we can offer. It is the balm that every hurting wanderer seeks.

    • Yes, exactly, Alyssa. Thank you. I’ve always thought I needed to have all the facts and scriptures ready on the tip of my tongue, when that’s not what He’s asking of me, is it. I simply need to share the Hope of Christ — that I know well. God would rather speak through me than a piece of paper any day, wouldn’t you agree?
      So thankful you stopped by and affirmed what I’ve been feeling lately, friend. Just what I needed. thank you.

  3. Praying your words about how God gives us free choice will touch that man’s heart, and for God to give you His words as He gives you the opportunity…proud of you for speaking up as God gave you the words in that delicate situation…we can always share what He has done in our lives…ultimately it is the Holy Spirit who reveals truth to anyone…hugs to you 🙂

    • Good point. It’s the Holy Spirit who reveals, isn’t it. We’re merely vessels. I still think about things I could have said in that situation that would have been better, but am trusting I did what He wanted me to. Than you, Dolly, for always encouraging me! Praying for you, friend…

  4. I think we have to make it simple enough for a child to understand. So often we get lost in lengthy explanations and at the same time lose our listener. The most important thing is to rely on the Holy Spirit’s guidance something I fail to do when I have memorized a set bunch of words and scriptures that sound good but may not apply to the individual’s need. I love the way you used prayer to guide you to plant some tiny seeds about our God instead of arguing about the existence of God. And you are so right that we must always be ready.
    Joy

    • Joy, you’re on to my next post about this already! Yes. Even a child should be able to understand. The faith it requires is childlike after all. In hindsight, after talking to this gentleman I know arguing would have gone nowhere. And am still praying the seeds I continue to drop his way when he reaches out will grow…Thank you for sharing with me, friend!

  5. (She stands on a chair and claps loudly, shouting, “Bravo! Bravo! Yea, God! You have blessed an amazing woman!”) Ok, now that the room is quiet and my heart is still, Wow! (She stands again and claps some more, tears running down her face.) Oh, Nikki, Nikki, Nikki. I’m sorry I’m gushing, but you have just written what I have been thinking for a very long time. And you did it so well! I’m embarrassed, but I’m serious. (Laughing nervously, she sits down and gathers composure.) I went to Bible college. I have the certificate. I’ve done the classes. Girl, I’ve taught the classes! I have used one of those formulas once in eighteen years. ONCE! I am telling you, people do not want the formulas. Ok, wait. No, once when I was a teenager I sat with an older gentlemen while he used the formula on my boyfriend and, well, it didn’t work. 😛 So, I guess I’ve technically used it twice. Anyway, people shouldn’t answer yes and no questions to the point of being trapped into salvation. They shouldn’t be lead all over the WORD OF GOD through unrelated scriptures linked together for convenience. God has invited us into his story and that is what he wants us to share. (She knocks herself upside the head.) Sheesh. What have we been thinking? Why can’t we just do what the apostles did and tell others about this amazing Savior who rocked our world? So, that’s what I do now. I just tell people that Jesus saved me from religion. Like your co-worker, many of the people I know do not believe because they have been hurt by Christians. Well, praise God! So have I!

    Nikki, you handled yourself very well that day and I believe that as you continue to pray through those moments, God will do amazing things in you. I can’t wait to hear the end of this man’s story. I will certainly pray for him.

    Ok, gushing over.

    • Oh, you get this, Tereasa, and that warms my heart so!! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing with me! Yes. I’m with you. No one should feel threatened by the love of Christ. I don’t. Now don’t even get me started on religion 😉

      Thank you, thank you, friend. May He continue to use us for His glory. I can’t think of a greater joy than that….

      One day, we’ll hug this all out together. Deal?

  6. First of all, I think your analogy of the bin Laden’s mother was spot on. What a great one to use! Did you think of it right there, or had you heard it before? As for the formulas, you’re right. I took an Evangelism Explosion class once, and I haven’t used it since. People don’t have the time to listen to the whole thing, and they don’t want to. And like the commenter above said, people don’t want to be forced into believing. We can’t make people believe anyway, only the Holy Spirit can. And He can use our mixed up, confused words; thankfully, we don’t have to be eloquent.

    As I write this, I should probably work on what I would say if/WHEN your conversation happens to me.

    • Nikki, I’m certain the Holy Spirit whispered it into my ear as I have no idea where it came from. I hadn’t heard it or read it anywhere previous to that moment. So thankful I blurted it out before I had the time to think it through and ruin it ; ) Even now I can think of things I’d rather said, but have the proof it’s what he needed to hear.
      It is worth our time to think about how we would capture the hope of Christ in 50 words or less, don’t you think? I’m learning so much by trying this exercise myself!!

  7. Nikki, I love the incident you’ve shared here and wait hopefully to hear your story. I don’t know if you’ve read all of mine, yet, but you are right… sharing YOUR salvation story is the greatest, purest gift you can give. It’s a John 21:25 story that’s needed from each of us–to fill the whole world with the things Jesus has done. (((Hugs)))

    • Peg, if by your story you mean your Iran story, I have read half of it. And am captivated by it when I find a few moments I know I can focus solely. What a great example of sharing what Christ has done for you, friend! So proud of you for putting it out there for others to be blessed by. And I’m striving to follow suit. So glad you’re here to encourage me. Thank you!!!

  8. You always share truth from your heart, I appreciate that about you. They say that most people learn about Christ through personal friendships with believers. Being able to verbalize that hope to our friends, neighbors, co-workers is so important. Thanks for this encouragement to be ready. Blessings, friend!

    • And I think God would have it no other way — He is a relational God after all! I think where I’m struggling is I think I’ve had the voice all wrong. I’ve been focusing on verbalizing other people’s stories and not my own. When I clearly have my own story of salvation to share!
      Thanks for being here for me, friend. Hugs to you!

  9. Pingback: Are You Ready to Tell Your Story? | His Pen On My Heart

  10. I love how you handled this, not with trite arrogance but with love and grace and truth. Thank you for being ready and willing to speak.

    I wrote a short ebook on writing and telling your story: http://journeywithd.com/ebooks/ I am always willing to share a free PDF in exchange for a review. I see lots of comments from people who say they don’t know how to share and I believe this will help.

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