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.
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.