Frustration. Anger. Discouragement. Those are some of the things I am feeling tonight after our school system received a letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation saying that we must cease the student-led prayer before our hometown football games on Friday nights. The comments I have read on news threads and Facebook go back and forth on the legalities of it all, but I’m not here to talk about that. Out of all the things I’m feeling tonight, it’s mostly sadness. Deep sadness that not everyone understands why praying to Jesus matters. My heart just breaks for those whose mission in life is to stop Christians from sharing their faith. And it made me think of something I studied last week.
In John 4, Jesus stops at a well and asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. She can’t believe He is talking to her because one, she’s a woman and that was inappropriate, two, she’s a Samaritan who Jews didn’t associate with, and three, she has a poor reputation and she figures this man knows this. But nevertheless, Jesus speaks to her, and she responds, “Why are you asking me…?” So many times in my life I’ve thought the same thing. When I’ve felt the Lord ask me to share or speak to someone or go somewhere or do something I feel totally unequipped for, I think to myself, “Why are you asking me???” But y’all, the beginning of His response is what gets me. He answers her, “If you only knew the gift God has for you…”
If she only knew. But she didn’t, y’all. Because to that point, no one had told her who Jesus was or what He had done in their lives. She had no idea that the man right in front of her, speaking to her, longing to help her and save her from her current life, was not a religion or a distant far away God or a made-up fairytale. He was the Savior…her Savior. It made me think about all of those in this world who are out to disprove and suppress and hurt our Christian “religion.” All of those who are missing out on the love and joy and peace that having a relationship with Jesus brings. And it’s because they don’t know, y’all. They. Don’t. Know.
For those of us who know Jesus, it’s not religion, it’s personal. When we pray it’s like inviting our closest confidant, family member, or friend over to lay our fears and hopes and failures at His feet. It’s a time to say, “I cannot make it on my own and I need your strength, your protection, your love, your forgiveness.” We have experienced the power of prayer, believe in it, and want to share the gift of it with others. It is never meant to harm or hurt, but only to help. We know the One who is mighty to save and it’s a privilege to call on His name and feel His presence. We have seen God’s hand move in our own lives and those around us, so it only feels natural to ask for His help and protection at a football game or anywhere else.
But many others have been hurt by religion, the church, or those who call themselves Christians. Some have never been exposed or cannot begin to comprehend believing without seeing. So let’s help them see, y’all. Let’s pray for those who need the Savior…and don’t know it. Pray without ceasing, y’all. The only way to share Jesus with the world…is sharing what Jesus has done in your life. How he saved you, changed you, and sustains you day by day. This is my prayer for all who haven’t heard or have chosen not to listen yet:
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 NLT
If you are a Christian, I want to challenge each one of you reading this to share what Jesus has done in your life. Not for spite or pride or out of anger. But because you were lost, and now you’re found. And they need to be too. Post it on social media, message it, write a letter, tell a friend, however you want to, but tell someone who doesn’t know why you are a Christian. Tell them who Jesus is and what He has done for you.Don’t allow this to steal your joy, y’all. And don’t lose focus on Who matters most.
Oh, and that Samaritan woman I mentioned before. Jesus told her who He was. And she believed. Then she left Him, told everyone she could what He had done, and brought them back to meet Him for themselves. Break our hearts for what breaks yours, Lord.
Let’s let them know, y’all.
*Feel free to share this blog and post what Jesus has done in your life on social media and hashtag it #ifyouonlyknew.