Thursday, March 26, 2009

Defending the Faith

1 Peter 3:15 (New International Version)
15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

It is so good to be home--to have slept in my own bed last night.

I got back at about 8.00 p.m. Tuesday evening, although my luggage didn't (someone else took mine home by mistake.) The plane was delayed in take off, and then with my long and fruitless search at the baggage carousel, Paul had been waiting for me for a while when I emerged into the Arrivals area. Then I needed to buy make up as mine was in the suitcase, so he patiently took me to Shopper's Drug Mart on the way home. No worries--the case is on its way back to me as I type this and is promised to arrive by midnight tonight.

The man behind the check in desk in Birmingham at the start of my journey, told me that my connecting flight from Amsterdam was overbooked in Economy, but that there were lots of seats in Business Class, and not to worry. In Amsterdam I was ushered into the lap of luxury. What an unexpected treat. I found my seat next to a very pleasant doctor from Ontario.

We exchanged pleasantries, but then the conversation led in an unexpected direction, to faith, and suddenly we were deep into theology. When he discovered that I was a Christian, he said that of course, I must believe in the New Testament, not the Old. I found myself explaining the purpose of the law and its inadequacy, Christ's sacrifice, leading to the process of sanctification; the dying to Self and gradual transformation into Christ's image. He listened politely, asking questions and sharing his own reading on Buddha, although he was a Hindu by birth and an agnostic by persuasion.

I showed him some verses in my journal that I had been memorizing last year on the character of Christ and the fruits of the Spirit and he read them with appreciation saying that they reminded him of what he had been reading in his book on Buddhism. I tried to explain the difference. The stumbling block was that Christ is "The Way," not "a way." I felt so inadequate. I at least made the point that not everyone who claims to follow Him is representing his teachings accurately and tried to explain why Christians would want to share their faith, rather than accept all religions as ways to God.

Dinner arrived, we ate, we watched movies, read, and worked on our respective laptops, and we chatted about less controversial topics.

As we parted at the end of our journey, we wished each other well as we went on to the next step of our journeys, both knowing that we still had different world views. I thought afterwards of so many things I wished I had said, or said better, and I could only put my hope, the next morning, in God's Word, which says that he uses the things that are weak.

Then Paul and I opened the Daily Light for March 25th, and the scriptures below were in the evening reading. They were a reminder that it is not about the messenger, but the message; and it will do what God purposes it to, in his time.

Isaiah 55:11 (New International Version)
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:

It will not return to me empty,

but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

1 Corinthians 3:7 (New International Version)
7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.


Deidra said...

Surely it's not a coincidence that your seat was changed. Those words you shared were life to your seatmate. The power of God unto salvation.

I'm from A Holy Experience. So glad I found your blog.

Belinda said...

Thank you! I pray with all my heart that in the tapestry of his life, that tiny thread of conversation was meant to be, and will be remembered at the right time. Thank you for your encouragement.

Brenda said...

What a divine appointment! I'm sure that man is still thinking about his encounter with you. Your joy is so contagious.... I'm praying that God will turn on the lights for him so that he may see Him in all His glorious splendor. God will bless and multiply your words. I know He will. You were just a piece of the puzzle that will soon make sense to him when he sees it all together.

p.s. I'm so glad you're home safe and sound.

Anonymous said...

Belinda I was catching up on my reading and I came across this witness, I tell you it is a devine appointment, I went through the same story when travelling from overseas, and felt inadequate, but guess what a year later I found out the man I had witnessed to had a wife who was a believer and he had hardened his heart to God as an unbeliever, but gave his life to the Lord after my witness to him, to God be the Glory, it is God's word that speaks for itself not the messenger. Bless your heart.