You know how the story goes. You pray for patience thinking you’ll one day awaken to find yourself a more patient and longsuffering person than the day before. Instead of being hit over the head with a bounty of patience like so much glitter sprinkling out of a fairy wand, it seems patience is built through opportunities that, in fact, try us and test us and whittle what patience we do have down to bone.
I have found the By Name Initiative to be quite similar to praying for patience. Since praying for a particular friend’s salvation, I have had opportunity after opportunity to share the gospel with her, only the actual times to share my faith have shown up quite differently than I expected.
I suppose the way I envisioned sharing the gospel with my friend would go something like… She and I would enjoy a nice stroll through the park, hot cidery beverages keeping us company and she’d say something like, Tell me about the faith you have and how I can have faith like that, too. Okay, maybe not that picturesque, but honestly, that scene is not far from what I’d envisioned and even hoped would happen.
What really happened looks more like this… trials have come. Hard situations to work through both in my life and in hers. And yet, the Spirit has prompted my heart each time:This! This is how you share the gospel! It’s those moments right after the trial has come, right after some stressor has fatigued my heart, right after our culture screams for me to value it over Christ… it’s my response in those moments that have communicated the gospel to my friend. Saying yes, this is a trial, but the Lord is good and sovereign and can be trusted (Psalm 145 v 13-19). Yes, this day, this situation has stressed me, but the Lord is a strong refuge and a deliverer from trouble (Psalm 18 v2). Yes, our culture says to value self-promotion and personal gain above all else, but the Lord provides for my every need in Christ Jesus (Phil 4 v19).
Obviously, there are many different ways to share our own story of faith and how the gospel has changed our lives. In praying for my friend By Name, I simply thought it would look a certain way, but the Lord has shown me once again that His thoughts are higher than my own and His ways are different than my ways (Isaiah 55 v8-9). In praying for the salvation of my friend, I have seen the Lord remind me of my own need for the gospel, every day and in all situations. I pray that my life would be so rooted in the Person of Christ that my friend would see her need for a Savior and that her heart would be changed.