Obviously, I need to spend more time with non-believers spreading the gospel. No doubt about that. But over the years, I have had the opportunity to be very close to a few. Especially in college, I was able to spend enormous amounts of time with non-Christians. And honestly, the fact that most of them still don’t believe bothers me quite a bit.
One guy in particular became a very close friend of mine. We spent 2-3 hours every day working out for over a year, talking about life and getting’ swoll. I often shared my faith with him. I talked about how Jesus had changed me, and how much I rely on Him every day.
Being a philosophy major, my friend was very well-read and tried to poke holes in my faith. Not in a conceited way, but almost as if he didn’t want me to be wrong. Honestly, I did not have all of the answers for his questions or witty responses to his challenges. All I had was my experience with Jesus and a few books written by Christians much better at these discussions than I was. I shared my story with all my heart and I shared my Christian literature with great humility.
My friend is still an atheist. Honestly, that is something that is still very painful for me to this day. Even though we only speak a few times a year and he lives on the other side of the country, I can’t help but to think about all the time that I spent trying to introduce him to Jesus. I feel like I failed. I failed my friend. I failed God.
As much as it hurts, I know that I did my part. I know that I did my best. I shared my testimony, I tried to be as much like Christ as possible, and I tried to show my friend His love every day. That is what I am called to do, and that is all that I can do.
The fact that my friend still does not believe is not a failure. Perhaps I said some things that will resonate with him later. Maybe I planted a seed that will take some time before it is ready to harvest. Maybe my friend needs to need Jesus before he decides to want Him. It could be that my role in his life was not to convert him, but to serve a purpose that I will never fully understand.
I am sharing this story for a few reasons. First of all, he has been on my heart lately and I covet your prayers on the situation.
Also, it is important that we all realize that our successes and failures in our faith do not revolve around conversions. We can’t make people believe. We can only show them who Jesus is to us and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
And if you start to feel like you’ve failed, don’t give up. In today's society, we all expect immediate results all the time. When somebody doesn't pray to receive Christ the first time we bring it up, we get disheartened and assume we did something wrong. That is not how it works. If God can bring water from rocks, He can use a seed you planted, even many years ago, to yield amazing fruit.
Tell your story, show His love, and keep on keepin’ on. That is what witnessing is all about.