It's another one of those sweet evenings where all I want to do is rejoice in who He is and thank Him for all the sweet blessings He has given me. The more my heart belongs to Him the more I cherish all the little things around me. Every day becomes a wonderful adventure instead of just the same mundane. Every little decision becomes an opportunity to honor Him and show my love for Him. The little things in life that bring a smile to my face? I am realizing that He sent them for just that reason. Doesn't that make everything extraordinary?
I'm a little giddy still about a conversation I had yesterday with Madame V. Yesterday I was meeting with her for our weekly language exchange and showing her some pictures that I took on our trip down to Burgundy. And this picture happened to come up....
"In the Catholic church we pray to Mary and the saints."
"In the evangelical church we pray only to God."
Next thing I knew I was explaining what evangelicals believe happens when someone dies. Of course, she did proceed to explain to me what Catholicism teaches about purgatory, and even said that God can pardon whoever He wants to, and we don't know if He will or not. So next I explained that the Bible teaches that God is just, and that as a just Judge, He has to punish sin. But He sent Jesus to accept the punishment for us, and if we believe in Him then we can be with Him when we die instead of going to hell. And then she started talking about Muhammed and I lost her.
But even if the conversation didn't end the way that I wanted it to, I'm so happy that we had it to begin with. French people never talk about these kinds of things! Madame V is a little different.... but it's still a miracle that the subject of religion even came up. I had been praying, you see, for an opportunity to share truth with her. And the Lord provided. Isn't He so good?
As I was sharing, the reality that God sent Jesus to take my punishment became just a little bit more clear to me, and oh the joy that filled my heart as I considered that Good News!
He's always surprising me. I hadn't really expected an opportunity to share truth so soon. I knew He'd give an opportunity, but the same day that I asked?! Wow! But He didn't stop there. This morning I was riding the bus on the way to meet Monsieur E for a language exchange. I was praying about our meeting, something I do every time I meet with someone. And today I got to share why Americans have Thanksgiving (to thank God for His many blessings!), and why I don't like to watch movies.
When last we met, a couple weeks ago, he had suggested that I watch movies in French to help me learn. I had told him I don't really like watching movies.
"Really? How come?"
"Oh.... uh.... I don't know."
"But everyone likes watching movies."
"Yeah.... Uh.... I guess I get bored?" But it was a lie. And God convicted me of that. I do get bored easily with movies sometimes, but that's not why I don't like to watch them. I felt like I couldn't share the truth with him because I had heard so much about how it's rude to bring up religion in France and I didn't want to make him think I thought he was horrible person because he does watch movies! I can't deny that strong feeling of conviction that I had afterwards, and suddenly I realized how silly that reasoning was. Thankfully God gave me another opportunity to tell the truth, and this time I was ready.
Today he asked, "You said last time that you don't like to watch movies. Why is that again?"
"There are several reasons..."
It wasn't awkward at all explaining to him that movies are so often filled with things that are evil, and that the Bible tells us not to dwell on things like that but things that are good. I don't know why I've always pictured it being so awkward talking about things like that, because it wasn't at all. I was just explaining one of the many facts of my life, just like how I have to explain that in America we use the word 'apartment' instead of 'flat.'
I'm so thankful for those tiny moments to share. No, I wasn't able to share the full gospel. No, they didn't ask me to tell them more. No, it doesn't seem as if my honesty really accomplished all that much. And no, it never does come out quite as elegantly as I intend it. But they were precious gems of opportunities to share truth with Madame V and Monsieur E that they probably will never hear otherwise. And just maybe it'll be enough for them to start rethinking things. Maybe they'll want to hear more. Maybe God's working on their hearts this very moment and somewhere down the road, whether near or far, they'll be worshipping Jesus with me.
They might be baby steps, but I'm glad we're making progress. And I'm glad I serve a God who is so overwhelmingly, undeniably good.
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.