“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:2-6
And pray that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ….let your conversations be full of grace and seasoned with salt. I am so touched as I read these words tonight. For the last couple of years there have been 3 non-Christian friends that I have prayed for pretty regularly. Prayed that they would come to know Christ, and that I might be involved in that in some way. I spoke last month about some progress with one of them (Leo), and last night God answered another prayer.
Dinner with Sarah. Sarah and I are childhood friends. Sarah came from a very different back ground…lots of money, very refined, intellectual, guarded, proper (I know…why did she want to be friends with me?:)) She has always claimed to be “spiritual” but is turned off to organized religion, though she is an advocate for abused women and children and volunteers her time and money to this cause. I find her doing Jesus’ work, without the life changing relationship with him. I think there is deep hurt in her past with “Christians.”
So last night at dinner, my guarded Sarah, started sharing with me the pain of her childhood, and how all of that baggage manifests itself in her life now. She referenced being overcome with worry especially as it relates to those that she loves the most. At one point in the conversation she asked me, “how do you survive every day..loving your children so much, and being apart from them, and not knowing if they will be safe? If they will be taken from you?” I had been waiting a very long time for her to ask me a question like this. I very prayerfully answered, that my only peace is in knowing that God loves my children more than I do. That his plans are greater than mine, even if in my mind…his plans could devastate me. I told her that there was a time in my life where I realized that no matter how much I wanted to believe I was in control…the circumstances in my life convinced me otherwise.
For the first time, she was open to having this conversation. After I shared this with her, she told me about an experience she had several years ago, where both her niece and her sister were miraculously healed from illnesses that were diagnosed as fatal. She was crying when she told me the story of how some members of her family and a Baptist preacher had come together in a prayer circle to pray over them. I told her I believed there was enormous power in a group of people coming together in prayer. She told me that she actually felt it (the power) and was convinced that it was the reason that both her niece and sister were made well.
So how does all of this fit together with today’s reading? Paul begins by telling us to devote ourselves in prayer, that God will open a door, and that we would be prepared to gracefully share the gospel with an outsider in a way that was full of love and seasoned with salt.
As I think about Sarah, I realize that God has been beckoning her for many years. The profound experience she had with the healings made the soil of her heart fertile. The pain in her life currently has sent her searching. God put the two of us together for dinner….and something beautiful happens.
I feel so honored that God shows me that I belong to him by allowing me to share his love with others. I also realize how important it is to pray for those who are far from God. Sometimes it takes a long time, but it is beyond exciting when the prayers start to be answered.
Thank you Father that even in my brokenness, you find me worthy to share your beautiful heart. I pray that you continue to draw Sarah to yourself, and that we as a church have the courage and heart to grow your Kingdom. I love you!!