I made it back safely on Saturday afternoon. Man, was it sweet to be with all of you on Sunday morning! Since being back, the following is one story that is still fresh on my heart…
One of my last days in South Asia, I took Lacey to a delicious cafe I had been to in January. It was full of chocolates, cakes, pastries, and all sorts of other sweet things. Despite my earlier excitement to go, I wasn’t in such a sweet mood prior to leaving. For no good reason, I was annoyed with Lacey and harboring some major attitude.
As usual, we grabbed a cab. It was a pretty short drive, and I spent the first couple minutes internally battling. I had resolved within my own heart at the beginning of the trip that I would make every effort to share the Gospel with our cab drivers but at this point in time, I wasn’t really in the mood to share; I was trying to work through my attitude problems with the Lord and “really,” I told myself, “there just isn’t enough time.” But the internal battle between flesh and Spirit ensued, and despite my stubborn and selfish heart, I managed to push out some questions. As Lacey and I both engaged the young man, the conversation gained some momentum, and I began to feel my heart soften. I thanked God for His grace and the unity of the Holy Spirit.
We came to a stop in traffic around the same time our conversation came to a halt. At that point, it hadn’t really led anywhere spiritual. With about 6 minutes left to spare, I asked the young man if he had ever heard of Jesus. He said he knew the Name but not the story and said he would be interested to hear more. I glanced back up at the GPS sitting on his dashboard. 4 minutes. “Well,” I said. “We’ve got 4 minutes. I’ll see what I can do!” We all laughed a little as I began to share the wonderful story of our Messiah. About ten minutes later we were still in the same spot. There was a train stopped on the tracks right in front of us.
After a small moment of silence, I realized how much time had passed. I had been worried about the time, and yet I was able to share the full Gospel, answer questions, and engage in even deeper conversation. Sort of thinking out loud I said, “You know, I think God wanted you to hear that story and be able to talk about it with us. I think He allowed us to get stuck here in this traffic just so we had time.” The driver laughed that good ol’ South Asian laugh and replied, “I was just thinking the same thing!”
Maybe that young man surrendered his life to Christ that night. Maybe it was that week. Maybe he hasn’t at all yet. Maybe he never will. Only God knows. But he did hear the Good News because our sovereign and merciful God is seeking to reconcile lost people to Himself. He orchestrates the smallest of details so that we can share and people can hear.
What struck me personally was that even after my own moment of sinfulness and rebellion, God didn’t see me as useless for His Kingdom work. His grace is so deep. Right as I repented, He opened up the opportunity for me to extend His grace to another out of the overflow I received.
Church, may we not be a people that chalks everything up to “just coincidence.” May we not think God’s love is dependent upon our performance, or that our usefulness is dependent upon our perfection. It’s all about Him, and His love is unconditional, His grace constant. Praise be to His Name!