For the first time ever I told one of my best friends to seek Christ and to put his faith in Him. He then asked me if I had, and if I had become a Christian, to which I replied that I had and I was. It was a moment that I knew I would have to face, as not sharing Christ with him made me no less convicted. I couldn’t keep playing the role of a sinner to maintain a friendship, and I couldn’t sit back and watch my friend condemn himself through actions which I had often encouraged.
God will not put you through a test that He knows you can not overcome. Yet how easily do we descend from the lens of the spirit into the lens of the flesh, where we harbour fear, rejection, and our hurt. We end up creating for ourselves a false reality, a false narrative, and although in our hearts we trust God, somehow there is a disconnect that occurs the moment we are put to the test.
I’ve been listening to an audio book called Tortured For Christ. It was written by a Romanian pastor who endured unspeakable tortures in communist prisons. Imprisoned for 14 years, he became part of the underground church, and along with others defied their captors by continuing to preach the gospel. This resulted in beatings, torture, and often death. Yet the Christians of the underground church in the communist prisons paid this price willingly, without fear or hesitation, so great was their love for Christ.
“It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their [the communists’ ] terms. It was a deal; we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching. They were happy beating us, so everyone was happy.”Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ
I think about the incredible challenges and obstacles these Christians faced, and I look at my own which absolutely pale in comparison. Either God doesn’t think I have that much strength in me, or He is that incredibly loving and patient to create stepping stone opportunities for growth. I decided to believe that it is the latter. God is infinite, which means that he has an infinite amount of attention to give each one of us. He knows exactly what each one of us needs at any moment to grow in Christlikeness. We just need to trust Him and not ourselves, and listen to His voice in our hearts.
My friend and I spent over an hour driving and talking in the car about God and Christianity. I told him about Jesus and why He came to save us, why we need to put our faith in Him. I told him about the devil, that he is also real, and why we need to resist him. And I told him how I feel God’s hand in my life (even the seemingly crazy parts). To my surprise he was open to listening, asking questions which I did my best to answer. He even shared a story how God saved his life during a dirt bike accident.
At best I clumsily planted a seed in his mind and heart. Whether it grows or not will be up to God, however I know that God has allowed me to grow by planting it. Preparing me for the greater challenges that are yet to come.