We often get phone calls that start out with something like, “I have a Jehovah’s Witness coming in 2 hours. What verse do I give them to reach them?” or “I work with an atheist and I can make a great case against Darwinism but then they throw out, ‘but Christians hate Gays.’ Where do I go from there?” Sometimes the caller is frustrated with having made what seems like a reasonable argument only to have the other person roll their eyes and say, “That may be true for you but not for me.”
To be sure, it is frustrating. At one time I, like so many others, thought that if I can just make the right argument, show the best evidence the other person will smack their forehead and say, “Now I get it!” Most often though I would make a great case for my position and be greeted with, “Soooo…?
As my friend, the late Jahn Moskowitz would often say, “Faith is an act of the will, not a function of information.” He didn’t mean information is not important but rather we cannot argue someone into the faith. They will choose to believe or choose not to believe.
None of this is new and it happened even to the Apostle Paul. We read for example in Acts 26:28 as Paul is speaking to Agrippa:
Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”
Paul’s response is classic:
And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”
He didn’t give up and more important recognized that it may be a long time. In other words, he may not be there to see them embrace the faith. That really is why he wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:
I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
We are merely tools in the hands of God and the outcome resides with him. God never calls us to be successful but he does call us to be faithful. Each of us do it differently for He has gifted us differently. But take heart, you may be the answer to someone’s prayer, someone you may not meet this side of heaven. I have been greeted with a lot of “Soooo….?” In my life and ministry. That is the nature of being a missionary to cults and new religious movements. From time to time though, we see real break throughs.
Several years ago we had a call on the helpline. It was a JW woman who was considering suicide and decided that as long as she was going to take her life she might as well call and see what we have to say about the organization. Joy spoke with her for quite a while and by and by she agreed to let us send audio tapes, book and other literature. She began sharing it with her husband and after a few months she, her husband and kids all left the Watchtower and accepted the Lord. As we began to disciple them and get them involved in a local church near them the husband shared that his elderly he had contacted his elderly aunt who lived in another state. He had been a JW for over 30 years and she let him know that she had been praying for him every day for that entire time. I still get chills thinking about that. She was faithful and vigilant. On more than one occasion he has looked at his aunt after she shared something about the faith and said, “Soooo…?” The God brought Joy and I and MCOI into their lives, soooo they came to the faith. We were the answer to her prayers. That is an unexpected benefit and a reminder that what we do, and who we pray for does matter.