My older sister has been experiencing serious problems in her marriage for a while. She and her husband have been married for four years and have been hit hard with unemployment and financial problems, which began right before her wedding day and have been ceaseless ever since. She is a very private person, and her opening up to me in the last few months has come as a pleasant surprise. I have carefully guarded my words with her for fear of saying too much and discouraging her from talking. I have been a shoulder for her to vent and cry on, and have offered encouraging words about marriage and life in general. Oddly, after each conversation with her I hung up the phone feeling incomplete, and the feeling only intensified as time went on. I knew in my heart that I was not doing her any real favors by depriving her of the love and comfort she really needed – the lasting peace that comes from experiencing the gospel and God’s love.
During our last conversation she asked me to pray for she and her husband. I sensed that she was reaching the end of her rope; she is a monotheist and although she believes in God the creator, she flees from the organized structure of religion and has effectively shut out Jesus from her life.
As I lay awake in bed following that last conversation I prayed to God, specifically for the needs of my sister and her husband. I was convicted in that moment to do what I had been putting off for so long; I rose and walked to the computer to compose an email to her. I used one of the most powerful witnessing tools for people who are “turned off” by religion – my own testimony. She may not be convinced that God’s grace is what got my life on track a few years ago, but she can’t deny that my life, my words and my actions have made a complete change since finding Christ.
When I finished my long message to her, speaking God’s truth, telling her of His love, His wisdom and His hopes for her marriage, I topped the cake by explaining to her that living the life of a servant, in humble submission to God, authority and her husband is actually the key to living richly. I asked God to use me as a vessel to bring His light into her world; after all, she had tried everything else on her own and that obviously wasn’t working. She was learning that despite her best intentions, self-help books, message boards or Dr. Phil wouldn’t save her marriage.
Do you know what has happened since I hit “Send” and finally unburdened my heart for her? Absolutely nothing. For the past two weeks I have eagerly checked my inbox every day, hoping for something, anything, that would indicate that she even read my message. Initially I was secretly hoping that she would have an instant, life changing response and accept Jesus as her savior in that very moment, not only saving her marriage but also securing her salvation. As the days went by I hoped that she would reply with questions; I was ready to discuss the toughest issues about the Christian faith. Finally, as the weeks past, I concluded that her non-response was equivalent to a spiritual blindness or worse, apathy.
I honored Him with my obedience and showed my sister the ultimate expression of love: His. Miraculously, in my recent quiet moments God has whispered to me a gentle reminder: His word will not return void. The bible reads “So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
Is there someone in your life who needs to hear your testimony? Do you find it easier to discuss your faith with neighbors than you do with your own family? Always remember that Jesus himself struggled when witnessing to His own family, in His own hometown. Jesus said “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” (Matthew 13:57)
If God Himself experienced trouble among those closest to Him, be prepared to be challenged when ministering to family members and close friends. The bible describes Jesus’ works in Jerusalem, “He could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.” (Mark 6:5-6)
Whatever issues or barriers exist between you and your unsaved family or friends, the most loving, selfless and eternal thing you can do for them is invite them to walk with the righteous. That’s right, the righteous in God’s sight is YOU – so make sure the “words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart are acceptable in His sight” (Psalms 19:14) and then go about spreading salt and light, leading your loved ones toward His heavenly kingdom.
We thank you for all that surrounds us and for your love.
We pray that you will lead us to follow your plan for our lives
And ask you to put us to work for you in the days ahead
Living according to your ways knowing you know what’s best for us.
Lord we pray you will inspire us to serve you
Knowing you are always watching,
And we ask you Lord to speak through us
Each time we are given the opportunity to share your Light.
God we ask that you forgive our sins
And cleanse us of Evil like only you can
So that we may rejoice in your ever loving grace.
Thank you all mighty God for all that you’ve given us!
This message was written by Elizabeth St.Pierre