Would That God Make Hell So Real?

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By Kristyn Perez 
Lamp and Light leader for The Daily Grace Co. 

Have you ever shared your faith with someone? How did it go?

If I’m honest with myself, every time faith comes up in conversation with a friend or stranger, my heartbeat rises a little and I start to get a little anxious. I want to share the gospel with others, but so often I don’t know where to start. Even so,  I’m thankful that the Lord continues to  provide me with  these  kind of uncomfortable opportunities  to grow. 

Case in point: the other day, my daughter asked me to share my faith in the middle of a Walmart. We had just wrangled our way past the toy section and pulled our cart into the shortest checkout line  when my daughter noticed that the cashier was wearing a veil. “Mommy, what is that on her head?” she asked. Having lived in a predominantly Muslim country for a few years, we’ve shared bits and pieces of what that experience was like with our kids. So in the middle of the checkout line, we talked about the Five  Pillars of Islam. I reminded her that this woman believed in Allah; she didn’t believe that Jesus was God. My daughter looked at me with big eyes, “Does that mean she’s going to the bad place?”

*Insert deep breath*

Whew. What would you say to that?
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I explained that “Yes, the only way to be saved was by believing in Jesus” and that we needed to share Jesus with her and pray that she would come to know him. She quickly responded, “Can we tell her about Jesus now?”

Oh boy. I started to get nervous, mumbling something about praying for an opportunity, but by this point, I knew we couldn’t just change checkout lines!  When it was finally our turn, my daughter whispered in my ear as if to remind me, “Can you tell her about Jesus now?” Using my kids as an excuse, I told the sweet cashier that my kids wanted to know more about her veil and her religion, and we had a short conversation about her faith. When they asked if she believed in Jesus, she smiled politely and changed the subject. We promised to learn more about Pakistan (where she was from), so we could ask more questions next time. As we said goodbye and started walking to our car, my daughter whispered again in my ear, “Does she believe in Jesus now?”

Oh how my heart swelled with the hope in her question! I don’t think that my conversation had any saving power, but I do hope that God uses our feeble attempts to move people toward a saving relationship with Jesus. While I was mustering up the faith to even mention Jesus, she truly believed that God could do anything! I gave my daughter a big hug, and we kept talking throughout the car ride about God’s power to save and loving people well. As we drove home, I continued to be challenged by her childlike faith. Here my daughter was with this black and white reality: if someone is going to “the bad place,” and we want to love people, then we have to say something. If we want to truly love our neighbor, we cannot sit idly by without telling her about the one who can save her. 

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Shouldn’t this be the heart of every believer? If it is only through belief in Jesus that we are saved, shouldn’t we want to tell everyone about him? So often as an adult, I can get caught up in fear, or just numb myself to this reality.

The good news of the gospel also contains within it very difficult news- that we are all condemned because of our sin unless we embrace his means of grace. This can be tough to swallow. It means that those who have never heard or believed the gospel are dying daily under the wrath of God. This should give us a great sense of urgency to share the gospel with others! The fact that sin condemns us apart from faith in Christ means that as believers, we have been given access to the truth the world so desperately needs. How can we keep this message to ourselves? 

In Romans 10:14-15 Paul says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” As believers, we are all sent to preach the good news. Our question shouldn’t be, “God why aren’t you saving those who have never heard?” but rather, “Why aren’t we going to those who have never heard?” 

As it stands, there are still 1.6 billion people around the world have never heard the Good News. Some of them are in my city. It’s my prayer that God would give me eyes to see, a heart to love, and courage to share the good news of Jesus with whomever I meet. Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China in the 1800s once said, “Would that God would make hell so real to us that we cannot rest; heaven so real that we must have men there; Christ so real that our supreme motive and aim shall be to make the Man of Sorrows the Man of Joy by the conversion to Him of many concerning whom He prayed, “Father, I long that those whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory.” Let this be true of me I pray.  

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