Tuesday, November 6, 2018
1 Peter 3:15-16
But in your hearts revere 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, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Yes! Here we are at long last - the much anticipated midterm elections have arrived! And I do hope, if you haven't yet voted, that you will do so before the day is out. As Christians, I believe we have a civic duty to cast ballots for those individuals who will best uphold our morals and values.
My husband, Danny, and I decide not to wait for this final opportunity, but choose to vote early, last Wednesday to be precise. When we arrive at the early voting venue, we are surprised, in light of this being a midterm, at just how long the line is. Should we stay and vote now? Should we go home and wait until Tuesday? We debate momentarily, but then determine to take the plunge. After all, this is the one day of the week when my son, Daniel, is committed to look after MIL, and we know she is in good and trustworthy hands.
As often happens when one is "trapped" in a long line of people, someone adjacent to you is guaranteed to strike up a conversation, whether it's solicited or not. And that's exactly what the man behind us does. We hear more than we ever want to about his Lyft driving misadventures, his personal disabilities and financial woes. All this punctuated all to frequently by salty language, which makes us think this guy's idea of appropriate boundaries is imaginary lines.
But we listen. We respond as graciously as possible. And we pray for patience. It's one thing to have to endure an hour's wait before casting our vote, but this? Dear Lord, help us!
Then out of the blue, the hammer drops.
"I visited a church a while back, and the first thing they wanted to know was, 'Are you a Christian?' What kind of question is that? I don't even know these people!"
Okay, Lord, what's going on here? I have the opportunity to offer hope and promise, and I'm practically tongue-tied. What can I say to convince this stranger that he shouldn't be put off by this, that Christianity is worth another try?
"When I describe my faith," he continues, "I'm more of a Taoist/Buddhist. It's a tolerance thing, you know? And I don't believe in Hell at all."
Still feeling ambushed, not at all prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks, I feel God nudging me to try, with His help.
"Jesus speaks about Hell in the Bible," I begin. "It's a real place that we choose when we choose to live separated from God. He's given you free will to embrace Him or ignore Him. And as far as tolerance goes, Christianity hinges on these two commandments: Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. What's intolerant about that?"
For once, "Mr. Lyft," as I've begun to think of him, has no rejoinder.
And in retrospect, I should have followed up my commentary with a simple, "God made you, and He loves you."
I regret that.
But now I find myself praying for Mr. Lyft, and so many lost souls like him in this world. Maybe, just maybe, I did plant a small seed of hope in his heart. And maybe the Lord will choose to water that tiny seed, and new life will spring forth.
And I wonder . . .
Who did Mr. Lyft vote for?
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