Several years ago, my family and I decided to take a cross-country road trip. Three weeks just my husband, my children and me. Three weeks of reconnecting with extended family members in different parts of the country. As I packed for this adventure I had my own ideas about how God was going to work over that time period. I knew God was going to give me opportunities to verbally witness to my Jewish family. God knows that I love my family, I care for them and I want them to know the truth; how else were they going to find out without me telling them. Of course, God was going to give me that opportunity. This was more than a vacation; it was a mission trip. On a warm Friday morning, with kids and husband getting loaded into the mini-van and a sack full of tracts proclaiming the One and Only Way to Heaven, I had a picture in my head of how thrilling it was going to be to “tell” my family about Christ, how he is the Messiah that Isaiah spoke of. I was beyond excited I was ecstatic.We pulled in to my cousin’s house in New York and all I could think of was OK God, here I am, I’m ready to witness. Days went by, relatives were visited, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the laughter contagious and memories abounded, but no opportunities presented themselves to us to verbally proclaim the love of Jesus. Yes we spoke of what God was doing in our lives, how He was working, we spoke of church and how God called us into various ministries, we prayed at meals, read the Bible. But still no opportunities appeared. I had it ready in my head, starting out with the Book of Isaiah and how he described Messiah, and how Jesus fulfilled that prophecy. Again no opportunities came for us to speak the Message of Salvation. I have to confess to you, when we started home from New York, I felt like a complete and utter failure to God. What kind of Christian was I? How could I not be grabbing on to my family’s hands and telling them that if they died today, they would not go to Heaven because they do not believe in Messiah, Jesus Christ? I verbalized my self-doubt and feelings of failure to my husband and through our conversations I looked back on our visit with my family. Then God gently took his hand and hit me upside the head (that’s how He gets my attention sometimes). Duhhhhhhhh! We may not have had the opportunity to verbally sketch out the message of salvation but we showed Jesus in our lives, our actions, the way we held ourselves, and the way we interacted as a family. We were different. Maybe that was what God had in mind all along. For us to be a lifestyle witness? Hmm, I wonder? I remember our last night in New Jersey. My cousin and his brother and sister-in-law were going to Atlantic City to gamble, they asked me to go with them. Years ago, I would’ve been in the car before you could say slot machine. But something inside me had changed, something inside me knew that it wasn’t for me anymore, (can you say Holy Spirit) surprisingly enough I had no desire to go I declined the invitation and stayed with my family. Our lifestyle is the greatest witness we have, never underestimate the value of the way you live your life as a Christian. I realized that God sent me on this trip to reconnect the bonds that tie my family together, to reestablish relationships with cousins, aunts and uncles. I believe in order for us to witness to someone, we need to know where they stand, what makes them tick, what they love, hate, dream about and want out of life. We need to get to know them on a deep and personal level. Only then can we share with them and they with us the most intimate of all issues, FAITH.
What did I learn on my summer vacation? Not my will but HIS WILL be done.