One of the most misused verses that I have ever seen comes out of Romans 8.
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28
It has been simplified, taking away the very nature of the verse, to "All things work for good." For the unbeliever, that is not even remotely true. A moderately more accurate expression would be to say that bad things happen to "good" people (I'm not going to into the whole "Only God is good" truth).
Bad things do happen, though - to everybody. Seriously, if we think that because we are saved that we are immune to all the bad stuff going on... Well, we are in serious trouble. But that is not the point that I want to make today.
The people in the world are looking for hope. They are looking for reasons and explanations. Are we telling them the truth behind their suffering? Are we giving them the hope that they so need? Or are we chickening out?
Do we surrender to the fear of rejection? The idea of a friend, someone that you love and respect, telling you your an idiot for believing in the God stuff... That can be hard to face. But here is an even harder truth to face - if you don't, than who will? You can't count on some great revival to just come sweeping in, saving all your loved ones, all your friends. That is YOUR job.
There is a great verse that I feel applies to what I'm saying - it's Esther's classic "for such a time as this" verse.
"If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. What's more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?" Esther 4:14
The key difference here is that we don't know that deliverance for our family and friends will come. I'm also not saying that if you don't try to reach people that you will be killed. But what if you are the only person in your friends' lives that they will listen to? What if you are the only one who can reach them? What if your Esther moment is about the salvation of your loved one? What if your the one who is meant to bring hope to the tough moments of their lives?
These are the thoughts going through my own mind this week. These are my own struggles, but I know that they are yours, too. It's time for us to overcome our fear - time for us to share God's love with the world.
Will you do this with me?