"Thanks be to God!"
During a recent varsity sports contest, I struck up a conversation with one of the visiting public school parents as we waited for the rest of their team to arrive. With this particular team, I have developed a friendship over the years with one of their volunteers (sharing score table duties), but I have not seen her in some time. So I used this common connection as an excuse to strike up a conversation with this parent, asking how my old friend was doing.
This old friend of mine had mentioned to me years ago that her brother was very sick. By sharing this, it opened up a deeper friendship as we discussed elements of faith, eternal life, and prayer. I have been diligently praying for her and her brother since that day, and was asking this new “friend” for an update on their situation. There was a moment in the flesh in which I paused to consider how transparent I was going to be in the conversation. During that split-second moment, I momentarily wrestled with the potential discomfort that might exist if I began speaking about those same faith elements (I wish I could say this is an uncommon struggle, but too often, the struggle is real).
In these moments, I am often reminded of how the apostle Paul so often responded when he himself was dealing with the frustrations of the flesh: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
It is often this internal declaration that removes any hesitation and invigorates me to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. Why should any momentary perceived discomfort in the flesh prevent me from experiencing the joy that comes from declaring how good our God is?
So I jumped in with my new friend and we had a great conversation. We both recalled how in our childhoods, it seemed like half of our public school communities shared a Christian worldview. But she grieved how her current experience seems more like 1 out of 20. So I took the opportunity to briefly be a part of her community and encourage and strengthen her faith. Even when our dialogue began to move into overly political waters, each of us took turns in steering our fellowship back to Christ.
I am always awed by other parents who seem to consistently reflect the love and joy of Christ to just about everyone in every situation. I consider them my mentors as I try to model my daily interactions in similar ways. May each of us overcome any fears and discomfort, modeling to our children a loving Christian worldview to others at every moment God gives us.
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