Recently, we visited some good friends. The daughter of these friends is a follower of Jesus. She’s been dating a great guy named, Dennis, who is not a follower of Jesus. During our visit, I kept asking God for an opportunity to get to know Dennis better and have a conversation about faith.
God provided that opportunity in the form of a car ride. Both Dennis and I sat side by side in the back of a van enroute to a hike. I said a quick prayer in my spirit, turned to him and said, “Tell me about where you’re at on your journey of faith.” Dennis explained that he wasn’t sure if there was a God and if God was a he, she, it or even there. But he loved his girlfriend who is a follower and had visited her church a few times. In fact, he was even going on a mission trip with her abroad. I summed up what he told me and then said, “so it sound like you’re checking things out to see if God is real.” He said that I had it exactly right. He’d been raised Catholic, but that was more about religion than actual belief.
What a great opening to share! I stepped into the moment and said, “With your Catholic upbringing, and seeing your girlfriend having this commitment to God, you’re probably wondering how much of this is cultural and how much of it is real, right?” He said that was exactly right. So I shared with him that the thing he couldn’t see was what mattered most. I pointed at everyone in the van and said that everyone here, including myself, actually had to make a decision to follow Jesus beyond our culture. Then I pointed at his girlfriend and said that though he can see she’s been raised in a Christian home, what he may not see is that she had to give up her own life, apart from how she was raised (great as it is) to give up her life to Jesus in the hopes that He was real. I explained that all of us didn’t know it was true until we gave up our lives to know it was true. Then I told him my testimony. I explained my mom’s statement of choosing sickness with Jesus rather than having health minus Jesus. I told him how my mom’s statement led me into a questioning of whether God really did exist. Then I explained that I gave my life to Jesus one night and asked him to enter my heart…and He did! My whole life changed.
I asked Dennis if he had any questions. He said he did, but that right now he needed time to process. He said that what I was saying was that in order to know that Jesus was real and God was alive, he would have to take a leap of faith to give up his whole life for that discovery? I said, “Yes. But the good news is that everyone you see here, who you know and love, have made that choice. None of us are crazy, right? But all of us had to take that leap.” By that time, the van arrived at our destination. We piled out and it just so happened that a young lady from Grace Pointe named Mallory was also on this visit. Her background was similar to his, so I told him to ask her if taking the leap of faith was worth it.
The next day I was talking with Dennis’s girlfriend, who is a good friend. I asked her if she was okay that Dennis and I had this conversation. She smiled big and told me that after we had it, he came to her with wide eyes. He said, “You’ll never believe it. This morning before coming to your house I asked God that if He was real He needed to give me a sign. When I got to your house, God put me in the car next to Derek. Wow!! I think God is real and answered my prayer for a sign.” She said that he was processing what I’d shared but that it was an answer to her prayers as well – especially as they go on a mission trip together next week.