Why bother? No one listens to me anyway. These were some of my thoughts after I made an attempt at witnessing to a loved one, but my efforts seemed to fall on deaf ears.
Do you ever feel this way too?
I am ashamed to admit that I struggle with these thoughts all too often. Deep down, I know it is the enemy waging war against God’s Kingdom. But I still allow them to bring me down.
Thankfully, God does not give up on me. God is teaching me that the things I say and do have an impact, whether I see it or not.
It’s a lot like lightning and thunder. Sometimes the sound of thunder will immediately follow the lightning strike, almost instantaneously. Other times there will be a delay. You will see the lightning, but the thunder will not boom for several minutes. And then there are times when you don’t even hear the thunder at all. The lightning was too far off for the sound of the thunder to reach you. But that doesn’t meant that it didn’t happen. Someone else who was closer to the lightning did hear the thunder.
In the same way, our actions and words have an impact. But the impacts can vary. There are times when we will immediately see the results, such as the time when a friend of mine was struggling with severe anxiety. In an effort to give her some comfort, I emailed her a favorite Bible verse. “Don’t worry about anything. Instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT). I honestly didn’t think it would help her much because I knew she was at a maximum stress level. But she immediately emailed me back these words, “Wow! I so needed that! I am going to print that and put it right in front of my face!!!” This left me in awe at how God had worked through me.
Other times it might take some time for our efforts to pay off. One of my coworkers was recently talking to me about how bad her memory was. Her family had a history of dementia, which really frightened her. So I printed out a Bible verse for her to pin up at her desk, “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV). I was hesitant to follow through with it because I didn’t want her to think I was weird. But I did it anyway. At the time she said thank you and seemed to be sincere, but I still doubted myself. I later learned that she had not been reading her Bible anymore because she didn’t understand it. And then when I brought her this simple verse, it hit home. She had even told another coworker about it, who thanked me for being a witness. I was stunned to know that this small thing had left such an impression.
And then there are times when we don’t see the results at all. But that doesn’t mean that our actions don’t have an impact. We are God’s instruments, and He is using us to reach those around us.
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 (NIV)
If we just keep doing these seemingly small things, God will work out the results. I am humbled to imagine how many times He might have used my actions and words, when I didn’t even have a clue about it. Just keep making an effort, even when it seems like no one is listening. And leave the rest to God.
And remember to live freely in Christ Jesus… The Redeemed Way!