I was listening to music on my phone recently and a current pop song came on. I started singing along but when I got to the chorus, I heard words that got me thinking.

One line in the chorus goes, “Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you” (Rachel Platten, Stand By You). Now my first thought was wow, that’s dedication and love. Based on what the Bible says about hell, there will be lots of fire, tormenting, and weeping and gnashing of teeth (Revelation 20:10-15; Matthew 13:41-42). That is not something that I would want to experience nor do I want anyone else to.

After pondering with admiration of this dedication in friendship, that she would “walk through hell” with her friend, my next thought was much more sobering: that is exactly what I do when I don’t follow God’s leading in talking to someone about Christ. It could be during a conversation with a dearly beloved friend who is asking me about my faith or God prompting me to talk to a stranger. When I refuse to go talk to someone, I am walking with him or her to hell, despite the fact that I know we have a promise of salvation found in Christ. I know that they can walk in heaven and yet I’m not telling them how they can experience that.

What can we do about this? How can we be living more intentionally, walking by the Holy Spirit, obeying what God tells us to say or do?

Photo by Benjamin Ng

When Fear Is In Control

When I think about why I won’t talk with someone I conclude that my inaction is often based on fear.

Fear that they will reject me.

Fear that they will think I’m weird or crazy.

Fear that they won’t want to be my friend anymore or it will make our relationship awkward.

For me personally, I’ve allowed this fear to take control of situations rather than trusting God.

I remember once going out on campus to talk with other students about Jesus with my discipleship group (DG) at Carleton University. Near the University Centre (UC) cafeteria, my friend and I saw two women wearing hijabs sitting just outside of it. I felt like God told us to go up to them, but I got scared of the idea of talking with them, knowing that they were Muslim, but not knowing how to talk to them about the differences between our faiths.

I ignored that prompting and we went into the UC caf instead, but had no luck starting a conversation there. As we exited the caf the two women from earlier were still there but with two other people as well: my group co-leader and another one of my DG members. I instantly repented and told God how sorry I was that I hadn’t followed his direction to talk with these women. I praised him for redeeming the situation and bringing other Christians to them.

This fear we experience is not from Christ; we know that God does not give us a spirit of fear but rather one of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). God gives us the power to go and tell others about why Jesus dying on the cross matters, telling them this Good News and allowing them the chance to make a decision to follow him or not for themselves.

Photo by Toshihiro Gamo

Listening In

About a year ago I was trying to head to campus after work to meet with a friend. As it always seems to happen when I’m in a rush, buses were running late and then the O-train was as well. I was waiting impatiently, texting my friend, telling her what was happening, wanting to just head to campus so we could have our meeting time together.

Finally the O-train arrived and as I got on I witnessed a couple in the midst of a verbal fight, with the guy storming off, giving a very rude hand gesture to his partner as he left, leaving her and (I’m assuming) their child behind. She started crying, and I debated with myself as to what I should do. The ride was all of three minutes and I was trying to decide if I should go talk to her or not.

As we were pulling into Carleton I stood up and was about to get off, but then changed my mind. I went up to her and asked if she was okay, and then sat down with her, riding the O-train down the line two more stops.

I listened to her pour out her heart as she told me about feeling alone, about the fight she just had with her boyfriend. After listening to her story I asked if I could pray for her; so there on the O-train I prayed for a stranger. She got off shortly thereafter and I rode the O-train back to campus.

I didn’t get the chance to share the gospel that day with her, but I don’t think my impact for God’s kingdom was any less. I listened to his prompting; I was able to listen to someone who needed someone in the moment to care. I felt so much joy in that moment, knowing God had used me to help a stranger.

“I listened to her pour out her heart as she told me about feeling alone, about the fight she just had with her boyfriend. After listening to her story I asked if I could pray for her; so there on the O-train I prayed for a stranger.” – Sarah Davis

Leaning on The Spirit of Power

Whether you are knee-deep in school work, working full time, or somewhere in-between, you (we) have a choice. We can look for opportunities that God gives us to show others his love and tell others about him or choose to live passively. If we are passive, we are allowing others to miss out on hearing the life-changing message of Jesus.

Let’s continually be asking God to fill us with his Holy Spirit and be willing to follow his leading when he provides us opportunities to talk with people, whether it be with people we’re close to or complete strangers, refusing to back down in fear. I can honestly say I have never regretted the times I have obeyed God when he asked me to talk to someone. I can say that when I haven’t, I sometimes wonder what opportunity I missed to be used by God.

But in those moments when fear does win, don’t let that missed opportunity consume you. Just as you want to share Jesus’ message of grace with others, don’t forget that it also applies to you too. We will make mistakes, we will ignore God’s prompts, and we will let fear overtake us. We’re human. It’s God who is the one who saves anyways. He just gives us the chance to partner with him to make him known.

Let’s be willing to stand by others when they are facing earthly troubles, but let’s not be passive when it comes to the spiritual. I’m not willing to stand by someone living a life on their way to hell when I know that they can find hope in Christ. I hope you aren’t either, but that instead we would all be willing to make the most of opportunities that arise to talk about Jesus, show his love to others and explain what he has done in our lives.

The song goes, “even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you.” If I were to do a remix I think I would say instead, “I know there is a way to heaven, here let me tell you.”

Resources to help you further:

Looking for a book to read about how to transition to gospel conversations?

Interested in finding more about what the Bible says about heaven and hell?


  • Girl waiting for the train by Toshihiro Gamo
  • Girl with headphones by Stephen McLeod Blythe
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About the Author

Sarah Davies

History lover. Latte drinker. Jesus follower. Can call Ottawa, Copenhagen and Montréal home in a single sentence. Thought she would end up working as an archivist or museum curator but instead currently spends her days on staff with P2C-Students. Learning to take life moment by moment (which is hard for a planner). Cats > dogs. You can find her writing on her personal blog, acuppeoftea.blogspot.ca.

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