by Sarah Davies
So, you took a step of faith.
You took a deep breath and tried something scary.
Turned up to help someone in need.
Tried to start a conversation about Jesus.
You even prayed and asked God to use you.
But, nothing. Nada. Zilch.
“Isn’t this when I get the great story; when I see God turn up and change someone’s life?”
“Hello?? Jesus?? Is this thing on?”
When you are met with polite “thank you’s” and closed doors
On the 29th of December, as a part of P2C+ my friends and I decided to sign up for an opportunity to go into the city to share God’s love with some recent immigrants to Canada.
We gave out free gifts that included a DVD of The Jesus Film and a Christmas card welcoming them to Canada.
My friend and I were never invited in. Not once.
Our goal: to start conversations about the meaning of Christmas and share why Jesus came to earth. We were told to expect invitations into people’s homes because for many cultures, hospitality and inviting strangers into your home is very common.
My friend and I were never invited in. Not once.
We were assigned 4 floors of an apartment building and we delivered our gifts to almost every unit. After completing our route, we had 30 minutes left before we were supposed to meet up with our group again, so we decided to leave the building to pray.
We were extremely discouraged.
17 units (out of the 4 floors) had opened their door to our knock, but none of them were interested in continuing a conversation. Our gift was received at most of those units with a simple “thank-you” and then the door would close.
Why isn’t this working?!
Had we done something wrong?
Not trusted the Holy Spirit enough?
Not prayed enough?
Did we just waste an afternoon?
I knew others on our team would soon be sharing about their many amazing conversations, but I didn’t have a single conversation to share. I felt like a failure.
When we got back to our base we heard a story that changed my perspective.
Madeline, one of the volunteers, stood up to share how she discovered a relationship with Jesus. Before knowing Jesus, she had lived in an area of the city similar to where we had spent the day. One day while she was away from her home, someone dropped by and knocked on her door. Since no one was home they they slipped a DVD about Jesus through her mailbox. When she got home she saw the DVD and became curious. Watching that DVD changed her life.
After watching the film, Madeline asked God to reveal Himself in her life and she started her journey towards Jesus.
You see, if people weren’t home we were instructed to slip the gifts into their mailboxes, and that’s the bulk of what we did. We faithfully knocked on every door and when no one answered we would slip the package through the mailslot.
They say your perspective changes everything
Madeline’s story filled me with hope. What an encouragement!
My friend and I were reminded that we had made a difference. Sure, we may not have had the opportunity to talk with residents but God gave us the opportunity to participate in telling others about Him. We had given these residents the chance to hear about what His Son has done! We might not see the results until heaven, but we did make a difference.
God didn’t use me in the way I expected Him to, but He still used me. I don’t have a great story to tell you, but I believe that the gifts my friend and I delivered, in addition to the prayers we spoke, glorify God.
Instead of despairing, try this
God didn’t use me in the way I expected Him to, but He still used me.
Are you tempted to despair or question your relationship with God when your actions only seem to produce invisible results?
I challenge you to consider what may be happening behind closed doors. Consider the eternal results. Will you trust what such a big God can do, even with so small an offering?
Stay faithful my friends.
There are going to be times when you look around and only see what’s not happening, but God is using you. He doesn’t ask you to produce results, He asks you to be obedient and leave the results up to Him.
“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:3-5 ESV
No story is okay with me
Would I participate in the city outreach again if given the chance?
Absolutely, even if it meant I had the exact same experience I did on the 29th. Because although I can’t see the results right now, my prayer is that I will see them one day in heaven.
Meet Sarah Davis…
Sarah is a Montreal Canadiens fan and a lover of all things British. She studies History at Carleton University in Ottawa. One day she hopes to own a pet chameleon named Mozart and a pet hedgehog named Mr. Thornton. If you’re ever at Carleton and see a student wearing bright colours, sipping a Starbucks drink and reading some history textbooks—come say hi! She loves making new friends!