Sometimes I reminisce about people I’ve had an opportunity to minister to, and I wonder how their spiritual journey is going. I’ve been in Washington for almost ten years, and many whom I’ve helped lead to faith have since moved away. Some-times God brings us into people’s lives for a brief season, but sometimes ministry means long term relationships. For example, I have heard from Brian (not his real name) almost every day for the past decade.
Brian’s upbringing was tragic at best, yet he pushed himself not only to finish college, but to earn a Master’s degree. Doctors were able to stabilize his chemical imbalance with drug therapy, but teams of psychologists and psychiatrists had no answers for the loneliness and rage in his soul. Brian’s Jewish upbringing had taught him to reject Jesus, yet he seemed open to the gospel message from the first time we met. As we studied the Bible, Brian was far more interested in how Jesus could mend his heart than in fulfilled prophecy or theological issues. After meeting with me every week for quite some time, Brian finally did say yes” to Jesus. I reminded him on that joyous day that this was not the end of a journey, but the beginning. “Give Jesus a chance to bring light into those dark corners of your life that scare you and lead to depression.”
“I’ll try,” Brian responded, “I’ll try my best!”
I countered, “The best thing you can do, Brian, isn’t really to try your best, but to yield to God and let Him heal the hurts.”
At first, Brian wasn’t sure what I was talking about, but he soon learned that letting Jesus change his life was more than a one-time decision. It is a daily exercise, and one that Brian battles every hour of the day—which is why he contacts me so frequently. Everyone in our office knows Brian and they partner with me in encouraging Brian’s faith in the Lord. The conversations are brief—sometimes only a minute, but in that minute’s time we remind Brian that Jesus loves him and that everything is going to work out well, because Brian is a child of God. Just that quick word means so much to him, and we often direct him to a Bible verse to rest upon that day.
You just never know who God will bring into your life, or what kind of relationship God has in store when you begin ministering to a person. The Apostle Paul reminds us to “Stir up the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6). When I tell Brian the simple truth that Jesus loves him, it resonates in my own soul as well, that He loves me too, and that everything that I face for the day is also in His loving hands.