I like impromptu conversations with my children. As they have grown up and become young adults, those conversations can get interesting. They also, more often than not, occur late in the evening. It’s during those wee hour times that I often hear what’s really going on in their lives, what they are thinking about, and where their heads and hearts are.
This last week my seventeen-year-old wanted to tell me about a conversation he had with his supervisor at work. This supervisor is not a believer. Well, let me say he is not a follower. He believes in God… sort of.
My son was not on the clock, but had stopped by work for some reason, and just happened to be right on time for a Divine appointment. I love those. It was just my son and his boss in the room, and just as scheduled, the topic of religion came up. My son’s boss has lots of questions. They are the same questions that most who question the validity of Christianity have. There are really no new ones, are there?
“How could a loving God…?”
“How good is good enough…?”
“How can you be sure you’re in…?”
“Why is there suffering…?”
My son came home feeling a little like he was not successful in answering all the questions his boss was asking. He felt that if he could just answer them all, his boss would believe. I spent some time helping him out with some of the answers, but in the end I reminded him of this one thing.
I reminded Ryan that he came to faith in Jesus when he was a small child. He knew a few Bible stories, knew Jesus loved him and had died for him, but that was about it. Yet that was enough for him to give his heart to the Lord.
Coming to faith in Christ has nothing to do with getting all of your questions answered. Heck, I still have questions. But the truth is, the difference in being able to have all of your questions answered, and walking by faith and not by sight (or understanding) is the difference between having a religion and having a relationship.
Faith in Christ is not a head issue. It is a heart issue, and until the Holy Spirit woos a person, (“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them…” John 6:44) they insist on seeing and understanding with their minds, what in reality is a matter of the heart.
How can you tell if you have a religion rather than a relationship?
Well, are you more interested in what you are against rather than what you are for? Do you use the Bible to beat people up instead of showing them grace? Are you a plank-eyed saint or a selfless servant to the wounded?
We are called to love a dying world. We are not called to be able to answer all of their questions. Yes, we are supposed to be prepared to give an account of the hope that we have at all times (1 Peter 3:15), but that does not require that we lead a theological discussion or debate the finer points of Scripture. Just that we can talk openly and passionately about the God who loves us, and His Son who gave up His life for us.
I hope the burden my son felt following his conversation was eased some. I think the next time he has the opportunity to share with someone about the hope that he has, he’ll feel a little better qualified to speak. After all, he’s just sharing his story. And he has a great story.