Have you ever tried to tell a story, and you made it so much more difficult to understand than it really was? I have.
When I was growing up, my faith in God was strong. I attended a small-town high school, and basically everyone knew that I was a Christian – a follower of Jesus. I read my Bible every chance I got, and tried hard to live my faith every day.
So when I was in college, 600 miles from home, I was absolutely thrilled to hear from a friend from high school. She told me about how rough things had been, and how she often wondered about me and if believing like me could ever work for her. To say that I was excited to respond is a complete understatement!
Now remember, this happened in the days just prior to email, cell phones, and easy communication. We conversed through hand-written snail mail! She had written about a page and a half, and I responded with a whopping eight-page letter, front and back sides completely filled.
I really wanted her to understand the facts and reasoning behind what I was saying, so I told her way too much information right away. She needed to know the basics: Jesus loves you, no matter what. He wants to live inside you and help you always. He can take your heavy burden and give you true peace for your life. He died so you could be forgiven and live in heaven forever.
What she got was overwhelmed. I told her theological principles, detailed explanations, and shared big words that I still wrestle with the meanings of today. Instead of giving her life and hope, I gave her too much, too soon.
I am happy to report that, somewhere along the way, she discovered that she could have relationship with Jesus. Even with my sermon-in-an-envelope, she eventually discovered the simple truth of God’s love for her. God worked in her, in spite of my over-zealous mistake. And I am forever grateful.
Sometimes we need to take the pressure off when sharing our faith. It’s not up to us to get others to believe truth – that is the Holy Spirit’s job. But He works through us to get the Word out to others. We live it in the way we respond to the circumstances of life: people are watching. We live it through our reactions to difficult situations: others notice. We live it all day long, every day. Either the Bible is true, or it’s not. Either the things Jesus said are true, or He’s a liar.
I choose to believe. I long to live what I believe, no matter who is watching. I aim to give a good answer about what I believe when I am asked. And I want to help lead others to discover the hope and truth that is found in God’s love.
Even when our words don’t convey the message perfectly, God will use our attempts to share our faith with others. He can make something beautiful happen anyway, and He absolutely loves it when we try. You can make a difference with whatever you have – when you share it.