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Last Leg of the Journey…Dependence vs. Independence

**this is a post #3  following up on Watchman on the Walls

After having seen God work so mightily in my conversation with my limo driver, I almost wanted sit back and say ‘THAT was what we’ve been praying for.” and not seek to engage in any more conversations. But, as my  flight San Diego to Las Vegas passed by, and I continued to put  the flight in the Lord’s hands and ask for opportunities a conversation gradually arose.  The man I was sitting next to knew alot of the common arguments against the idea of “one religion” being the only one and at this point I was so thankful for all the apologetic books I had read in high school and college.  I knew the arguments, and I knew ways to pose questions so that this man could see things from a different point of view. We had a friendly debate back and forth, with him saying “Ok, I’ll give you that one” often (whatever that means?!) At the end of the flight, I finally felt like we were getting to the root of his unbelief.  He said “Well, what would you say about this?? When I was growing up we went to a Lutheran church and when I was about 12 years old, people started speaking in tongues and that became a big deal.  But then after a year or two it stopped.  So how could that be “God”?  Why wouldn’t He keep doing it? And what about the people who didn’t “speak in tongues”? It made me think everything was made up anyways.”  Our flight had landed by this point and so I didn’t have much time to answer well, but I just told him that first of all, God can choose different ways of working in peoples lives for different seasons, and also, sometimes people take things out of proportion because it starts to become all about having a ‘certain experience’. It was clear that this man had a definite experience “in church” that turned him off to knowing God, and therefore declared himself an agnostic from that point on. I was grateful for our talk because it certainly deepened my faith and forced me to think hard about the issues he brought up, AND it sent me on a quest to research different topics.  I pray that maybe  some of those “I’ll give you that one” statements would creak open the door in his mind to exploring who God is and just how active He is in our lives.

The next flight of our journey was a late four-hour trip from Las Vegas to Orlando.  It was also a much more sobering part of the trip.  I was seated next to an elderly couple who evidently go to Las Vegas to gamble several times a year.  The woman was really friendly towards Benjamin and myself and we made little small talk.  In my mind I said “We have four hours, I can share the gospel with her later”…Well as time went on, she dozed off…then I dozed off…then I was so groggy I couldn’t think straight even though we continued to talk through little small talk things.  All the while I kept saying “Oh I’ll share later”.  Well, that “later” never came.  In the days that followed, I puzzled over that flight.  I sat there, and had FOUR HOURS in which I could have shared the Gospel with a woman who may never have another opportunity to hear the Good News of a Savior who loves her and gave Himself for her. FOUR HOURS.  I could write it off and say “well at least I shared with the other people” or “maybe someone else will share with her”, but NO, God put ME next to her and I failed to be bold, I failed to love in a way beyond my comfort zone. How did that happen?  After I had had so many good conversations already?  And as I pondered these things, I realized- all the other trips I had been inviting the Holy Spirit in…entering into conversation by faith that God would work through it and guide the conversation.  But in this instance, I was not depending on the Helper.  I was calling the shots: “I will share later”, “I‘ll do it after she wakes up”, but ” I am so tired”. I was living independently, and the Holy Spirit has no room to work when Kimberly has taken the wheel back into her hands.  Its the difference between living in dependence upon the Holy Spirit and living in independence.  Living by faith or living by my own strength. Living a life that is filled with power or living a life of failure.  It is a hard lesson to learn.  But may I learn it well and may God place someone in that woman’s life who will be more obedient and available than I was that night.