Sharing our faith in Jesus can be one of the most fulfilling moments ever. But if you’re like me sometimes you let your insecurities, pride or lack of knowledge get in the way of those opportunities. What I have come to realize after many “botched up” attempts is that Jesus is the one who does the calling, not us. We are only the voice that He uses. I was reminded of this truth many years ago on one of my annual shopping visits to Chicago. This true story truly changed my perspective, I hope it inspires yours.
Yellow Checkered Revival ~ By Lori Clounie
Closing my eyes I take a deep breath as the crisp rigid air fills my lungs. The wind cuts slicing like a sword, precise, consuming, yet swift. I bundle up with confidence that today will be like many other Chicago winter days, blustery and cold. My suspicion is confirmed.
Today seems especially bitter.
The wind and snow barrel around us. Walking briskly my friends and I huddle tightly. Burrowing in I hope to forge a wall against these frigid temperatures which seem to be splashing pink splotches across my cheeks. Freezing, I decide to hail a cab. After all, four ladies on a mission to take Chicago need to have their wits about them without taking time to thaw.
Before I know it, a warm toasty cab has pulled up along the curb begging our company.
Opportunities come in our life on different levels. I love engaging people with the message of Jesus, especially cab drivers. It helps knowing that for those few moments you hold a captive audience. “Where are you from?’ “How long have you been driving?” You know, the typical non-invasive questions that help you to find common ground. It’s then that Jesus begins to make His subtle entry into our conversation.
And my personal favorite, “Are you a person of faith?” I find that most people love to tell me about their own belief, which in turn lays a foundation for me to tell them about mine, hence enters Jesus! It’s amazing how six simple words can often open up a dialogue that only God knows the outcome.
Katie spots the determined look in my eye and laughs. Knowing my heart she braces herself as yet another stranger falls subject to my interrogation, finding him in good company with those ranging from sales clerks to waitresses. She was preparing for what came next or so she thought.
Stepping into the cab I do something I never do. I am silent. My heart begins prodding me to begin a conversation, I resist. Within moments we are here at our destination, the driver is paid and we pile out. The opportunity is gone in a flash. I feel my heart sinking and my shame growing.
Conversations continue in stride as we venture on, but inwardly I am quiet. Humbled, I cannot face God. I had wasted this opportunity that He had given me. I replay the events and know that pride is at the root. Fear of being thought so predictable has kept me from responding to God’s prompting. Tucking this away I purpose that I will not remain silent for the sake of my own pride. Long ago God had called my heart to share His message, next time I will prove faithful.
Our trip is becoming but a faint memory as laughter rumbles, friendships are strengthened and purchases are packed away for our journey home. Four amazing days of deals, steals and finds are packed, shoved and folded as we headed towards the concierge. Wide-eyed, he looks for a vehicle large enough to transport this tired group to our destination, the train station.
With precision he hails a cab then strategically files each piece of luggage and bag until the trunk can hold no more. I pile in the front seat, leaving my three cohorts crammed in the back to immerse in rapid chatter.
Looking overwhelmed as four women invade his space, I begin a light dialogue. He declines to engage. I sense God tugging at my heart… “Opportunity is a gift.” Failing once already, I choose to be faithful in this moment, what God does with my attempts are up to Him.
Expectation is a funny thing. We pray hoping great things from the Lord. Yet we stand amazed that He not only fulfills our expectations but also more often exceeds them!
Intentionally, I begin my approach throwing out any small talk I think he may find interesting. Instantly the driver burst into laughter. I explain to this young black man that I have friends in his country of origin, Ghana, Africa. Apparently he finds this amusing. I can see his mind processing this seemingly exaggeration as he dare venture to believe that this middle aged white chick could actually have “real” friends in Ghana. I engage him in his disbelief.
Convincing him will be difficult. I offer up the only evidence I have, my friend’s name, Walter Pinpong. Walter serves as the Director for International Needs, Ghana. I love listening to Walter’s stories of his compassion, vision and hope for his homeland. We are beyond acquaintances’ with Walter we are family, brothers in Christ.
Elated he shouts, “You know Walter Pinpong?” Disbelief nearly holds me captive as I struggle to grasp what comes out of his mouth next. “He is from my tribal village in Ghana!” My mind becomes a blur. My pulse elevates and my heart stirs up emotions within the deepest part of my soul, down to the depths of knowing God in His fullness.
“You have brought this divine moment to me God. To me!!!
Bursting I say, “Yes! He is my friend.”
God has broken down the walls of indifference, color, position and culture. He immediately replaces it with a bridge of respect, belief and brotherhood. My new friend embraces my inquest into his life and smiles at what is transpiring between us.
“Walter believes in Jesus as His Savior.” “Do you believe in the same Jesus as Walter does?” “Yes, “ he proclaims! “Yes, I do believe in Jesus!”
Within moments we have arrived at the train station. We jump out, circle around the front and embrace one another in the love of Christ! Only God could orchestrate such grandeur! Only God. I had given him a piece of his homeland that he loves; he has given me so much more. My purpose is defined. God has assured all that I know to be true.
Sharing His love and salvation is like breathing for me, it is not a luxury it is a necessity. It is up to those who hear to believe or not believe. I am grateful that my God would be mindful of me, granting me such an insight into his sovereignty.
I look around to grab my bags and find my friends embellished in tears. They too have witnessed God’s amazing love and are changed as a result of it.