I like to take things in. I soak in conversations, emotions, occurrences, and life. I watch the details. I reflect on what is beneath other’s feelings and actions. And I stay rather silent.
I’m not the life of the conversations, nor the person with all the great advice.
I listen. I see. I think.
So when someone says something that resonates with me and that I feel the desire to genuinely weigh in on, share gospel-laced truth, and dive in deep with Biblical guidance, I often shrink back and remain quiet.
I’m not sure if it’s discernment or fear.
I suppose, in some cases, it’s discernment that just right now isn’t the best time. This is too heavy. It’s a bit out of place… but, wait, are those actually fears?
Recently, as a couple of coworkers and I were discussing the weight, the tragedy, and the walking-between-death-and-life in our role as Pediatric ICU nurses, one of my co-workers said something profound. She said, “A friend of mine keeps telling me that we are doing God’s work.”
And there was silence.
Amidst the silence was a mix of uncertainty, faith, wonder, amazement, and lingering questions.
And so, as I desired to boldly seize the moment, pull up my evangelistic trousers, and offer encouragement, I boldly professed; “If anyone ever wants to talk to me about any God or faith things, I am absolutely open to discussion. I love speaking about that!”
And… it fell a little flat.
I now have processed a myriad of options that I should have tenderly said, something like:
“Yes, I truly believe that.”
“Yes, I find so much comfort in knowing that God has a plan and purpose for our lives, even amidst suffering.”
"It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? But I’ve learned that there is truly so much hope for those who trust in Jesus.”
“God is working boldly through your life.”
Anything but what I self-promoted and self-declared. I wasn’t really pointing to the Gospel, but I was highlighting my knowledge of it. I was pointing to myself.
And as I recall that conversation, I recall God’s grace. I remember His mercy. I can almost imagine Him now; as I slumped a little lower in my work chair, among the sliding glass PICU rooms and with the constant hum of alarms chiming in the background, as I utterly felt defeated and silly for even saying anything. “Lord, help me.” I exasperated in my mind.
It was as if I felt Jesus tenderly lifting up my chin. “It’s okay, dear daughter, I have another message for you.” He whispered this to my weary, self-proclaiming instead of Him-proclaiming heart…
And so later that shift, as my nursing tasks were in a lull, and my rather-stable patient was sleeping, I heeded His call.
The conversation that followed with a different coworker is too intimate and sweet to share, but it was gospel-packed, life-giving, kingdom-opening. All glory to God!
And Jesus said something like, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. For even in the air of your failures, I’m there. Trust me and I will help you to do great things for my name, and I will be the one to lead others to me. You just have to humble yourself, exalt me, and obey.”
If anyone else has ever had a foot-in-mouth Gospel moment, try again. Listen for the Lord’s call. Pray for Him to give you the opportunity, and then boldly and humbly listen, respond, obey.
We all will fail.
And it's okay.
He gives us grace for even that.
We all will proudly pull up our Evangelistic Trousers and show off instead of humbling ourselves to be a servant messenger and herald of our Most Gracious King.
Praise the Lord that He is greater than our failures and He will complete His assignments when we allow Him and His Truth to be the focus, and not our smarty-pants self!