“Send a Bible to someone,” our pastor challenged the congregation. The name that immediately came to mind was the name of one of my son’s friends. This friend holds a special place in our hearts, and Jacob wanted to send his friend a Bible like his own for the last year. Naturally, this is who we should send one to.
I jotted a little note on the bulletin and discreetly slid it into Jacob’s lap. “Who can you think of that we can send a Bible to?”
With zero hesitation, he wrote back, “Your friend that doesn’t believe in God.”
Interesting. The name in my mind was a “safe” name. There would be no conflict. No fear of rejection. For I know and love his mom and knew the gift would be cherished. The name God placed on my son’s heart- a bit riskier.
I immediately knew who he was referring to. She is a friend who God most interestingly brought into my life. From the beginning of our friendship, I knew God brought her into my life for a reason. I just didn’t know why. Then one conversation 2 years into our friendship revealed to me she did not believe in God. In fact she told me that she believed she was in control of her own destiny. I shared the exchange with my son because I knew that he would pray for her to come to know the Lord.
Sitting in the pew that morning, I felt God speaking to me through my 8-year-old. This happens frequently.
That week we purchased Bibles, wrapped them up, shipped them off, and prayed. Just as we expected, my son’s friend was overjoyed to receive his gift. However, my friend had a completely opposite reaction. She was inflamed, furious, and deeply offended. When her email came through my inbox, my son was sitting with me. I read the email, sat momentarily stunned, read her words again, then looked at my son.
In that moment I realized the awesomeness of God. Yet again. His ability to weave together so many facets of our lives in a single exchange. In a single moment. A friend in need of a Savior. A child in need of witnessing the impact of an offensive gospel preached. A child in need of learning the eternal impact of praying for the lost, praying for softened hearts, and the need for christians to show love to everyone.
I responded to my friend a loving message telling her that my gift was out of love and I had no intentions of upsetting her, that I cared for her and wanted to share the gift that had forever changed my life. For good.
Then I turned back to my 8-year-old, in all his innocence. A mind and heart that loves God deeply. A mind that doesn’t understand how anyone could believe otherwise. I shared with my boy the reaction of my friend and my response back to her.
“Mom, I don’t understand. Why wouldn’t you explain to her that the Bible says that if she doesn’t accept Jesus as her Savior, she won’t go to Heaven?”
“Because she doesn’t believe the Bible is true. And since she doesn’t believe the Bible, I can’t use the Bible to persuade her. At this point we can only pray for her and show her unconditional love.” I continued sharing with him that the gospel is offensive. Yet we can’t allow that to stop us from sharing it. We have to be more concerned for their eternal security and more concerned with pleasing God than pleasing man.
He walked away confused. Not understanding how anyone could not believe something that was so real, so alive, and so active in His own life.
The following day my son came home from a long day at school. A day that left him spent. With teary eyes and wavering voice he said, “We prayed at school today for your friend who doesn’t believe in God.”
I laid the mail on the counter and slowly turned to face him. Here he was tired and frustrated from a day that had not shown him kindness, yet his heart still weighed heavily for what was most important. Swallowing hard, I met his eyes. “Did you? What did you say?”
“When our teacher asked if anyone had a prayer request, I said ‘Yes, my mom sent a Bible to a friend who doesn’t believe in God. Her friend got mad at her. And I want to pray that she would come to accept Jesus.’ “
And that is what it’s all about. Showing God’s love, sharing God’s love, and praying.
Though our gifts may be rejected, though they may reject the Gift, His gift will always remain. Waiting to be accepted.