God Must be Trying to Get Your Attention

We don’t always know what to say.

In evangelism, whether it is organized or informal, we all come into various acquaintances. If you have a formula you like to use, you are probably thrown off guard more easily. I don’t particularly care for formulas, but I like to memorize certain elements of presenting the gospel that I feel must be there in order to preach it entirely. Even so, you can never anticipate all that will transpire.

When confronted with the gospel, an individual will normally relate this concept to experience. Sometimes, someone is hurting, and they may ask, “why does God allow this to happen to me?” I’ve met people who have suffered financial crises, health problems, and family tragedies. As a minister going to visit them, one might be better prepared to handle the situation. But as a minister of the gospel not knowing who is behind door #1, what do you say when someone asks these questions? “God must be trying to get your attention?” I used to think that was it, but now I see things a bit differently.

Now I intend not to undermine God’s sovereingty here. Of course God uses crises to bring us to Himself. I don’t doubt that one bit. But what do the scriptures say? Do we really know that someone lost his fiancée because God wants his attention? Are we certain that a lady will be homeless tomorrow because it’s the only way God can make her listen?

I honestly don’t know, and this post isn’t trying to determine that. What I am trying to determine is what to say when it comes to evangelism.

See, the truth is we really don’t know why God allows things to happen in people’s lives. Unless you know someone extremely well, it’s hard to tell whether God is using a situation as an evangelistic opportunity, a humbling experience, a display of His glory, chastisement, or all of the above. And when we present the gospel to people, and they respond with “well why this?” I don’t think it’s our place to tell them what we think. So what do we say? Well, for one I’d be interested in the input of those who might read this. But my conclusion is simply to be more general. Here in America, things can be turned around quickly. For example, if someone says, “but God has made me poor”, I could easily reply, “you are richer than the vast majority of the world. Instead of asking why has God made you more poor than your neighbors, ask Him why has He blessed you with such wealth?” Someone may have a fiancée pass away, but not everyone is blessed to even have  a fiancée. These are questions that get people to think. But even more general is to simply share the reason why suffering happens in the first place. The Bible’s explanation of the degenerative effect of the curse as a result of sin is a tremendous place to start. But it should not come off in such a way in which the individual feels you are telling them God is punishing them for a certain sin. The fact is chaos abounds, and that’s life. It all happens because of sin. And then from there, you can talk to him about sin using the Law, and pray that the Holy Spirit will begin to work on him.

God is still very sovereign here. He wills all to happen, and no doubt takes a personal interest in the lives of every human being. But since we don’t know exactly why He chooses to perform His will in a certain way on certain people, we are most biblically accurate to be more general and attribute the suffering to the universal problem of sin. Since this is all in the context of evangelism, this is the best place to start anyway. Getting too personal with ones we don’t know could create more problems than we can handle.


2 comments so far

  1. TJ on

    I think, how we answer questions like these should focus less on what we think God is trying to do and more on what God is able to do. When the disciples asked the Lord if a certain blind man was blind because of his or his parents’ sin, He simply answered neither. The Lord explained that the man was blind so “that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:3) Many times our ‘bad’ experiences are only opportunities for God to reveal the hope that can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  2. daniel h on

    The Bible says that “his ways are past finding out” (Rom. 11:33) I would tell someone that it is not for us to try and figure out what God is doing, but know that He loves them and wants to save them. I think the most important thing for us who present the gospel is to have the Bible in our hearts and the Holy Spirit guiding our thoughts. We can’t know what someone will say at every place we go, but we can always know where the answer is if we are close to Jesus Christ and His Word.

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