I was on Facebook the other day when I came across this quote by the wise and wonderful Jordan Loewen:
Evangelism shouldn’t be simply “telling” people about God, as if he’s some how missing from their world, but rather, It should be finding where God is already at work in their lives and making them aware of it.
That summed up a lot of what I’ve been thinking about recently. Just a little while ago, I had an amazing conversation with a friend about a really incredible, life-changing experience that she had recently gone through. She was glowing, inspired, and very animated as she told me all about what had happened.
I’ve been wanting to find opportunities to talk with her about Jesus, so as I half-listened to her story, the other half of me was scheming, “How can I somehow bring this whole thing around to being about her need for God??”
But you know what? I realized just as quickly that instead of being excited for her, and truly just listening to what she was telling me, I was coming up with an agenda. I wanted to fit her experience into my framework for how to experience God.
Who says she needs MY framework? Who says she’s only experiencing God if she’s aware of it? Who says that her experience is only powerful and life-changing if I add my “Christian two cents” to it? And why did I assume that God is missing from her world, when in reality, I could see God all over her experience?
At some point, I really hope and pray that she does become aware of God, but I started to sense that this particular conversation was not the time for that, yet.
I realized that I needed to ditch the agenda, and start praying. I prayed that the wonder of her experience wouldn’t die, but that the Holy Spirit would keep pursuing her through it. I prayed that it would lead her to ask questions. I prayed that it would open up an awareness inside of her for the things of God, and that she would recognize Him working, as He is already.
I believe that God is already doing something in her life. I don’t exactly know how to go about “making her aware of it”, as Jordan said, but I’m praying, and every time I get together with her, I’m hoping that God will show me what He’s doing, so that I can join Him. I’m praying that He’ll give me the right words, at the right time, when she’s ready to hear them.
I want to stop making God so small that I think He needs to work within my framework. I want to stop thinking that His hand in people’s lives will look the same way (my way??) each time.
I want to look for Him, not my idea of Him, in the lives of other people. I want to be open-minded and sensitive enough that I can recognize what He’s doing. He’s got some pretty amazing ways of becoming real to people. I never want to squash or hinder that. I think I have in the past.
Here’s to better attempts in the future! Less talking, much more listening…