I’m Just Sayin’…

I’ve been thinking about a conversation I had with a woman on the subject of God’s character.  Actually, it was a series of several conversations, started by her upon learning that I’m a believer, and strung together by our children’s sports schedules.  It seemed that, for awhile, every time we ran into each other, she would pick up the conversation where it had last left off; as if she’d been thinking of nothing else since the previous encounter.

At first, I considered this a good sign;  I mean, if she is so obsessed with continuing the discussion, then maybe she’s really thinking through some things.  But as the weeks wore on, it became apparent that she hadn’t been listening to much of what I’d been saying at all.  Oh, sure, she would pick and choose the tidbits that were palatable to her, but she’d inevitably stretch and twist the truth of my assertions to fit into her ideology.  It was frustrating.

Finally, the conversation climaxed, and we were at an impasse, of sorts.  She had talked herself into a mild frustration, and was expecting me to affirm her point of view.  While I was more than willing to validate the emotional reaction to her circumstances–for her reaction was a completely natural one–I was not able to tell her that her reaction was right.  Nor was I able to agree with her perception of God with regard to those circumstances.

Then, I further offended her by suggesting that God is not the author of chaos, but rather, the solution to it.  Much more was shared, although I will not divulge it all in this venue–I don’t believe I have that liberty, since she was trusting me with her confidences.  Suffice it to say, my refusal to compromise on the issue of God’s sovereignty in a fallen world upset the woman.  She no longer sought me out as she had done before, and it wasn’t long before I observed her engaging in similar confrontations with other parents.  In them, it seemed, she had found what she wanted.  She was afforded the opportunity to emerge from those conversations as the victor, for it was apparent that her new friends had no vested interest in the outcome of the woman’s so-called investigations.

I must admit, I was glad for the reprieve, but there was another part of me that wished I had been able to say just the right thing, in just the right way, in order to stimulate a change in the heart of this person.  I felt as if I had failed her, I suppose.

After some time, I began to see the situation more clearly–distance has a way of doing that.  Now I realize that I did fulfil my obligation–I answered this woman as best I could, and my responses were nestled in silently spoken prayers and God-centered truth.  I may not have answered perfectly, but, I finally accepted, I answered.  And that, I understand now, was what prompted her to move on to another audience. 

So, why did I share all of this?  I wanted to encourage you with what God revealed to me through that experience.  Sometimes we avoid God-centered discussions and confrontations because we don’t know how to answer, or we doubt that our answers are good enough–spiritual enough.  And although there is much wisdom in being slow to speak, and in discerning when to speak, I think that there is often fear and foolishness in never speaking at all.  Even if it seems that no good is coming from it, doesn’t the God of our salvation deserve our efforts, as feeble as they may be?

I don’t see that woman anymore.  Time had moved us in separate directions, and she hadn’t shown interest in fostering any connections.  But I can now say that, whether that woman gleaned anything of eternal value from our discussions or not, I was blessed by the reassurance that He was there with me through it all, feeding my mind and soul with words I could impart.  It may not have been a beautiful delivery, but it was God-honoring.  I’m just sayin’…

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