“…do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11, NIV 1984).
A Christian colleague shared this encounter with me yesterday.
She was catching up on charts at her computer when one of her residents entered the office to present a patient problem.
She describes: “After we completed our patient discussion, I asked about the funeral he had just attended.
‘It was fine but I’m just amazed at the religion thing. I was thinking about it the whole time I was there’, he said. ‘Especially how people can be hard core religious.’
‘I’m hard core religious, ’ my colleague said, smiling.
“I know, but I just don’t get what they are feeling. I can’t figure out what they get out of it.’
‘Very few people have been able to figure out their way into the Christian faith,’ she replied. ‘C.S. Lewis did in a book called Mere Christianity but not many are that smart. For me, my faith is more of a relationship that grows from events and experiences, not a data-driven analysis. Some truths we learn from logic and data, but others we learn through experience and relationship, like how you know your wife loves you. No randomized control trial will provide all the data I need to believe in God, but a thousand experiences convince me of that truth and bring me close enough to where a relationship with God happens. I look at the evidence for God as more of a huge accumulation of case reports. Experience after experience point to God, and when I explore their meaning, I meet the God of the universe and come to know Him.’
‘I hear you,’ the resident said, ‘but I just can’t figure it out.’”
This Christian doctor’s exposition of her faith may not have been brilliant, but a number of important things happened in her encounter.
1. The resident felt comfortable discussing faith with his attending.
2. The attending did not shy away from her faith and was ready in a winsome way to answer.
3. The Holy Spirit was present to translate.
When I look at my colleague’s experience, I have to ask myself:
Do I present myself as a Christian in such a way that my colleagues or friends feel comfortable discussing (not arguing) their lack of faith with me?
Am I sound enough in my understanding of Christ to present my faith in a practical way?
Do I ask God’s Spirit to take my actions and my words each day and translate them into the language necessary to help non-believers find their way to Him?
Prepare my heart and my words and make me faithful.