Only grace melts hearts...
I know... two in one day, but I needed to write this one down as it impacted me last week.
Cancer chemo treatment waiting rooms aren't happy places. When you're in a waiting room, there are several unhappy truths of which you're acutely aware. 1. The treatment is a biohard-style poison that will be toxic to your body in the hopes that it will also kill the bad cells. In military terms, it's a nuke dropped on a populated city to destroy the enemy emplacements scattered throughout the city. 2. The odds are usually against you. I don't want to unpack that. 3. If it does work, there's a free throw's chance it will come back.
From an evangelistic perspective, you'd think it'd be an ideal environment for the Gospel since most people are aware of those facts. While I admit I get discouraged trying to share the Gospel wondering if there really is anyone out there who wants to hear it, I hoped the cancer assembly line would have attentive ears.
Unfortunately, after a several attempts, I've found the infusion clinic has the same problems any human has. It's just as cold to the Gospel as a wedding, baby shower or a get rich quick convention. Specifically, I both see and hear the same trends: straight up dismissal of the Gospel, the ugly influences of syncretism with our American culture, mixing biblical truth with animistic manipulation of spiritual things like the Force in Star Wars or some view Yin Yang view of God being on the good side of an equal battle between positive and negative forces.
It may seem I'm judging my fellow treatees. Really, no. Realizing the truth, or the reminder of the same truth the Bible teaches regarding the Gospel and man's natural spiritual condition was sobering. There are a few lessons I believe God wanted to emphasize.
1. I was being rebuked for my arrogance thinking I could be more effective as a Christian sharing the Gospel by leveraging human circumstances. In my heart, I was no different than one who would seek to whip up an artificial emotional condition to create a response.
2. Only God can change the human heart. It's God's Spirit that has fire-power that can melt the icy heart. He makes us alive. It's all about His grace. Jesus is the Savior, and we are the witnesses.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.
So, I must testify, but I need to leave the saving to God. I must not be discouraged, especially since in all the times of sharing the Gospel, I've only experienced confessions a few times. However, I take joy in knowing we don't get paid by commission, but are commissioned to testify to His glory as a God Who is slow to anger and abounding in love.