I recently was sharing with a young friend who struggles with alcohol.
A brief opportunity to minister
For a time, this man let me into his life, and it was such a privilege. I’m not sure whether that season is finished, but in that brief time of several months, he was asking a lot of questions about the Bible and GOD. He was raised Catholic, but had dismissed it along the way. That left a void which he was beginning to address. Now he was reconsidering — not Catholicism, but the reality of the Creator, Yehovah GOD and Jesus, His son.
In that time of several months, he had hope; he might find … something of substance. He is a very bright person who seems to be a bit “stuck” in life, not completing part of his higher education and not obtaining any profession; he has a private means of sufficient income which is legal and respectable.
He was asking questions and sharing his thoughts, and we naturally gravitated towards the Bible because he was speaking to me:)
The last time we spoke about such matters, he’d “gone off the wagon” and was quite intoxicated. He declared that he was not a Christian (as I would deem the Christianity of commitment) and that Jesus came for all to be connected to GOD, and that he has saved all and all will get to heaven.
For a time, this friend had hope. But he lacked the substance of faith.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for… the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Hope and Faith must come together
Never have I seen such a clear example of this difference between hope and faith. The man had hope but faith did not come…. and then he seemed to lose the hope he’d had.
I had been on the brink of saying, “Don’t wait too long to read the book of John,” which I’d encouraged him to read when we first began our conversations about the Bible several months before. But it seems it was too late.
Perhaps he will wake up one day
I continue to hope, and know by faith, that GOD has heard my prayers and that Jesus, our intercessor who sits at His right hand, has heard also and will intercede for him.
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1John 5:4)
What prompts me to share this is to discuss evangelism briefly. I am no Evangelist, so I can say little on this topic. But just as our character grows in Christ, so does our responsibility to share, whether we are gifted or not, when we are asked about our faith. It was a real blessing to me to go for walks and have talks with this young friend. I am deeply saddened to think that we may no longer have these conversations because he has, perhaps, closed the door. I suspect he reckons I was “trying to convert him”, or is drinking, or has just simply lost interest.
I wonder if I deadened the relationship by sharing another experience of witnessing to a stranger and the stranger being interested, after experiencing a miracle, saying he’d read the Bible. My friend may regard me as someone simply trying to convert people. But Truth and sharing the Truth is not conversion. We simply answer questions and share what we know. GOD’s Word convicts and what each person does with that conviction is up to them. Sadly, this friend barely read the Word…
I miss the company of my friend. But far more important is where he is with GOD.
I may have lost this friend, but I hope this friend has not lost Jesus. Certainly he is lost until he finds Jesus, we all are. I hope and pray, with faith, that he will discover the truth and accept it in GOD’s timing. I am available to him whenever he might want to discuss anything of substance again. But I fear he is one who has heard the Word and yet it has fallen on stony ground. How sad if that is true.
“Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Jesus, will you please save this poor wretch like you saved me.”
In Jesus’ name, Amen.