Facing Disappointment

My hope is this post serves as an encouraging word for those who have experienced difficult times while sharing the Gospel.

We know that there will be rejection and possible hostile reactions to hearing the message of salvation. Many people are living in a rebellious state and do not want to hear a message that would require accountability. But we must not lose hope—and I believe many of us get discouraged because we fail to remember the role we are to play.

It is never us who convinces a person to turn towards God. Unless God the Holy Spirit supernaturally speaks to the hearts of men, all our witnessing, and warning, will be utterly in vain. We alone have no access to another’s heart—that area is reserved for our Creator alone. Our job is merely to speak the Word, not to make them hear it. Only God can penetrate the conscience and convict the heart.

We are simply to be a pebble in someone’s shoe. We plant the seed, and turn it over to God to give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6-8).

Look back on a couple of instances in Scripture. Paul reminded the Corinthians that only one who has the Holy Spirit in him can recognize Jesus as Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3). When Peter confessed Christ as the Son of the Living God, Jesus told Peter that this revelation did not come from flesh and blood (Matthew 16:16). Our entire journey of salvation comes from Him, from the moment He opens our spiritual eyes, ears, heart, and mind.

What we experience in the struggle to try to reach someone is nothing different from the days of the apostles, or for that matter, the prophets throughout the history of Israel. For instance, a person’s reception or rejection of Ezekiel’s message was a reflection of his openness to God (Ezekiel 3:27). Consider also all of the times our Savior noted, "He who hears, let him hear" (Matthew 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8; 14:35; Revelation 2:7).

So take comfort. Many others have paved the road of disappointment prior to you.

But it does not lessen our commandment to reach out to the spiritually illiterate and plant seeds. We must share the Good News of Christ, for we cannot expect an unbeliever to see a need for redemption unless they recognize how far they’ve fallen. They must be enlightened to know that no solution lies in nature, but only through the One who died for all of us.

So, do not be discouraged when you do not see the immediate fruit of your work. It's not a contest to see how many people you can get to recite the Sinner's Prayer. Reverend Moody once spoke of a man who he confronted some twenty years earlier finally come forward one day in the inquiry room to accept Jesus as his Savior. We just never know.

Plant the seed, sometimes that’s the only opportunity available in a particular encounter. However, if an opportunity for further conversation is presented, praise God for placing you in this person’s life and share what God has done for you since accepting Jesus in your heart. Let God use you in such a situation to usher him or her towards the most profound relationship any of us will ever experience.