Often as I am slugging it out in the neighborhood, I wonder if anything at all is happening. The fields don’t look white for harvest and my friends seem more interested in the latest sitcom and political debate. Where is God in all this stuff? One truth that I always hang on to is the gospel is the power of God not my efforts. If this were not the case, then I would have to become an expert at closing the deal, giving the best answer, always living as I should (even in DC traffic). Don’t get me wrong, I am to labor with all the strength that God has provided me, but the transaction is always between God and my friend. I need to always be conversing the gospel but only God can change the heart of man.
As I’ve considered God’s gospel moving in the minds and hearts of my friends, I like to remember that God is always speaking and sometimes He needs me to just show up. One of our friends, BeBe, grew up with Joni Eareckson Tada and can recall with detail all the events of her accident. But this did not bring him to faith in Christ. We have been reading the bible together and I mentioned to him that I missed the opportunity to meet Joni when she spoke at the Pentagon. (I missed the opportunity because something crowded out my normal routine of going to the Pentagon on that Wednesday morning.) Not only did I not have the opportunity to meet Joni, but I missed the opportunity to let her know that a Christ follower was engaged with her friend discussing the bible. What an encouragement that would have been to her!
But even when I fail to show up, God is speaking. Many examples come to mind. Mary was a diehard feminist and in no way was she going along with the establishment. That is until she discovered she was pregnant and went in for an ultrasound. When she heard the baby’s heart beat on the monitor, she wept and recognized that God was real and started on a journey to find Him. God’s voice is everywhere. Even coming from the mouths of those who vehemently denounce Him. Listen to what A.W. Tozier says in his book, Pursuit of God. “It is my belief (and I shall not feel bad if no one follows me) that every good and beautiful thing which man has produced in the world has been the result of his faulty sin-blocked response to the creative Voice sounding over the earth. The moral philosophers who dreamed their high dreams of virtue, the religious thinkers who speculated about God and immortality, the poets and artists who created out of common stuff pure and lasting beauty; how can we explain them? It is not enough to say simply, “It was genius.” What is genius? Could it be that a genius is a man haunted by the speaking Voice, laboring and striving like one possessed to achieve ends which he only vaguely understands? That the great man may have missed God in his labors, that he may even have spoken or written against God does not destroy the idea I am advancing.”
God’s imprint and voice is everywhere and I can begin a conversation in my neighborhood by acknowledging it in the works of those around me. Victor Hugo’s magnificent book, Les Miserables, has some of the best depictions of grace that man has offered. He was not a Christ follower and neither did he ascribe to the gospel, but God uses what he penned to prick the hearts of men and women still today. The pictures of redemption are all around us! Let’s learn to use them as gospel pathways.