Last night had a hard time sleeping. My head was killing me and my eyes were full of tears.
I ate breakfast yesterday with my friend Chuck. I met Chuck over a year ago and ever since then I have hoped (and I mean desperately hoped) that he would come to God. Leaving the McDonald's where I had shared my morning with him began to cry. I was driving down a major road in Lubbock unable to hold back the tears. Not until my late-night-headache did I understand, or realize, why I had wept that morning and a number of other times just like it after leaving a visit with Chuck. It’s because of helplessness. Fear of failure. It was because, to be honest, I don’t see Chuck ever calling Jesus Christ his Savior, and kills me.
Last night I think that I finally understood Paul’s words when he said, “ I am innocent of everyone’s blood.” Earlier in the book of Acts he yells basically the same statement at a group of Jews after they had time and time again rejected the gospel saying: “Your blood is on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” (Acts 18:6) I think that Paul probably made that statement with eyes full of tears and a shortness of breath. I know it wasn’t easy for him to say. The thing with me is that I often don’t feel the same way. I feel guilty, like I should have done more. Like there was something that I could’ve said, or showed to the person. The truth is however, it’s all in God’s hands and it has nothing to do with my abilities.
The following is a story of a when I felt this unbearable pain. The pain that comes when you’ve poured yourself out to someone but know that they are still heading down a road leading them straight to Hell. I want to be able do something. Anything! So I pray. I pray as hard as I can for opportunity, for other Christians to enter their lives. And I live! I live the life that Christ has called us to live hoping that some may observe something good because of what they see may give glory to God on the day of His visitation.
Tuesday- November 21, 2006
Tonight I was reading a book in a Hastings store. While reading a guy on his cell phone sat down near by me. His conversation was distracting, and made it near impossible for me to concentrate. Trying not to make a big deal out of things I simply moved to another part of the store and continued my reading.
A short time after, I arrived in my new seat among the New Age section. I saw a young girl browsing the area. She appeared to be just a little bit younger than me. She was looking at books on astrology, dream-interpreting -etc. and at items like tarot cards and other things used in practicing these forms of magic.
Seeing her there distracted me. It made me sad to see her searching through those books.
“What was she looking for?” I asked myself.
“How much of that does she believe in and practice?” I wondered.
After praying and building up the courage, I decided that I would go and talk to her.
I told her that I saw her looking for something and asked her what she was looking for. With insecurity, she told me she didn’t really know. I then asked her if she practiced some of the things that she had been looking at. She answered yes.
“Have you done this for a long time? … Or um, how did you start practicing these New Age things?” I asked her.
“This lady I met told me about it. She’s kind of like a mentor to me.” she replied.
I’m not sure what I said after that. But it didn’t seem to me like she really wanted to talk to me about it. So I thanked her for her time and returned to my seat.
When I sat back down I couldn’t help but feel that I had failed.
Failed to tell her what I thought about all that New Ageism.
Failed to tell her how dangerous those things are.
Failed to her that there are other things out there.
Failed to tell her about God and His amazing Son.
This feeling of failure brought me back into prayer. I prayed for more courage and wisdom and to be given the right words to speak. And then I returned.
She had moved around the corning, still searching for something. Upon finding her I started up with the questions again. For some reason it seemed like asking questions would be a good start.
“Do you believe in spirits?” I asked.
“Yes.” she answered.
“Well then, do you believe in God?” Was my second question.
“No.” She said, “But I do believe in a Higher Power.”
For the most part, she answered those questions just as I thought she would. They were kind of silly question to ask someone looking at books on how to communicate with spirits. But I needed to start somewhere.
“Have you ever read much of the Bible?” I then asked her.
“No.”, she answered.
“Would you mind if I show something out of the Bible then?”
“No I wouldn’t.” she replied.
We then walk over to the Bible section of the store. I grabbed two matching Bibles for us and we had a seat. I had already thought of one passage that I would show her before I approached her, from Acts chapter 17 when Paul was in Athens.
I read aloud as she followed along. I wanted her to see that the people that Paul was teaching were also into New Ageism. And how Paul proclaimed God to them, who they worshiped in ignorance. I did the best I could to explain the passage to her in it’s context. It took a little time, because she said that she had never really read the Bible so I did a quick catch-up so she would be able to understand.
After we had read through the passage she still remained very silent. She came off as someone very confused about life to me, as someone uncertain about the world around her, as someone uncertain of herself.
I sat there for a second.
She was looking though the Bible in her hands.
“Is it okay if I show you another story in the Bible?” I asked.
I think she just nodded yes.
We read together Acts 19:11-20. Before we started I first called my friend Brandon Price and asked him where the story I was looking for was. I couldn’t find it in the illustrated Bible we were using. And I thought that the phone conversation could buy me some more time to gather my words, while giving her time to think.
In the passage we read, one demon possessed man beats seven men until they are left bleeding naked. These men were Jewish exorcists and tried to cast out evil spirits by saying: “I command you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches!” Their attempt to use the name of Jesus (and Paul’s, even though it doesn’t appear they even believe in Jesus, they certainly weren’t very knowledgeable of Him) failed miserably. The Bible says, “…the man who had the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them all, and prevailed against them, so that they ran out of that house naked and wounded.” Everyone in town of Ephesus where they were heard about what happened. “Then fear fell on all of them, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” Then in response to it all many who became believers confessed of what they had been practicing. The Bible then says that many who had practiced magic gathered their books (50,000 silver pieces worth) and burned them publicly.
I don’t know what I thought was going to happen after we read that second passage. But what did happen was nothing. She just continued to look at the Bible with her same down cast face.
I think I asked her if she had any questions. But she didn’t. So I told her again how I thought what she was practicing was unwise. But she still didn’t say anything. She seemed so sad and lost just sitting there thinking, never really making eye contact with me.
I told her a little more about the Bible (She seemed to like the one in her hands). I offered to buy her one. But she said, “She won’t let me take one home.”
“Who is ‘she’?” I asked.
“The lady I live with.”
“Is she the same one who has got you into New Ageism?” I asked.
“Yes.” she said.
When this subject came up it seemed like we were finally going to be able to talk. It was obvious that something was bothering her, and now it finally came out. I asked her more about her situation. She told me that she had nowhere else to go except with this woman. She told me that her parents didn’t want her. (It was around this point that I could tell that they were lovers).
I could tell how unhappy she was in this situation. I asked her if she could leave this woman and go somewhere else. I offered her help. I told her that I could find her somewhere to stay until she could get off on her own without this lady. But she said that it would be too hard, too much trouble. And how she didn’t think that she was in any danger.
Before I could try and find out more about her parents and what was wrong she said, “It’s almost ten. I have to go.”
“To her?” I asked.
Once again, I believe she just nodded with a downcast look on her face as she put down the Bible and got up.
“It was nice to meet you.” She said, as she walked off not facing me.
I sat there for a moment.
Filled with sadness, I left the store to go cry and pray for this girl who had been so tricked by the devils lies.