After a number of evenings of going out on the boardwalk to evangelize, this week has had some unique conversations. I've talked to people who wanted to keep talking. They actually asked questions.
I had one conversation which lasted over an hour 15 minutes about everything from the origin of the races, to gays, to drugs, to suicide, to the death of the dinosaurs, to Christian rap and back again. I came away feeling talked out. Spent, but well spent.
The next evening I went out again with a different group, and found two people who invited us to sit down on the bench between them. Raised in Catholic schools, but claiming to have "fallen away" into agnosticism they tried very hard not to offend us. However, we assured them we felt no antagonism by the fact of disagreement. Instead of proving God to them I got to explain the gospel to them for half an hour.
About half way into the conversation the guy told me he had a question which he'd never quite understood. "Why did Jesus have to come to die?"
I almost hugged him with joy for honestly asking me such a question, and I almost jumped up and sang and danced for joy. I could hardly believe what God had just dropped into my lap. He just gave me an opportunity to do something I'd spend the rest of my life doing if I could.
I'm sure my answer was lacking logical coherence and didn't cover everything about why Jesus came to die, but with by Holy Spirit's power I was able to give him an answer for the hope that I have. Indeed the entire conversation ended up revolving around the hope that I have in contrast to them and their confusion.
The conversation didn't end in tearful prayers of belief, but I hope I gave them something Holy Spirit can work into their hearts to bring them to belief in a God who can and does save.
Apparently the joy that was filing my whole being was evident the moment I stepped back into the chapel because the other staff were coming up and asking me how it went—saying they could tell something awesome had happened.
Yes. Something awesome had happened. My dream had come true. I had been able to give an answer for the hope I possess. I had been able to explain why the most tragic and the most glorious thing in history had happened. I had been able to tell a beggar like myself where real food is, that can be bought without money, and yet does very much satisfy.
There is nothing quite like explaining the gospel to a questioning soul. Proving God's existence and all that is nice, but I much prefer talking about the gospel. If I could do nothing else my whole life except sing God's praises and preach the gospel I think I would be overflowing with joy. To sing and proclaim the wonders of my God? I can think of nothing I'd rather do.