“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)
A few weeks ago I took my much-softened love seat cushions to a local upholstery shop to get new, firmer foam. It is owned by a married Hispanic couple in their sixties and when I walked in I noticed the woman behind the counter had her Bible open. She took me to the back of shop to have her husband help me decide how firm of foam I wanted.
I told them I had rheumatoid arthritis and that I needed to be able to stand up from the cushions again. The woman shared how she had suffered from a stroke last year and was still self-conscientious at how she talked or walked. I told her I barely noticed and did understand. We laughed at the humor related to having one’s husband as a caregiver at times.
I ran out to the car to get my checkbook and when I came back in I noticed her Bible was no longer sitting out. I asked her, “Did I see your Bible sitting out earlier?”
“Oh, yes!” she smiled. “I couldn’t make it through a single day without it.”
I told her I shared her faith and about the ministry. I said, “It’s always such an encouragement for me to see people reading their Bible.” As I went to leave she leaned in and said, “I feel like I should hug you!” We laughed and hugged. When I came back to get my cushion the next day I brought her two of my books.
The following week, after my back flared uncontrollably, I literally spent the entire night sitting on one of the new cushions and putting the other one behind my back. I didn’t move for two days. I don’t know how I would have survived sitting without these firm cushions. So when my husband took down the cushion from my favorite chair the following week, he told them what a difference they had made for me. How often do those in the upholstery business hear they changed someone’s life? Two days later my mom picked up the cushion. Each time the couple spoke to my family and said I was “so sweet.”
God places us in the rarest of places to share our faith and why we have hope. When we ask God to use us, we must be willing to share our faith (and sometimes about our sufferings) even when we are tired, or standing in an upholstery shop. That same day a twenty-something woman at the office supply store said she had part of her spine fused and that her dad has multiple sclerosis. The woman at the bank asked, “What does Rest Ministries do?” as I made my deposit. She said her sister had fibromyalgia.
What is the reason you have hope? You may firmly believe it is only because you know God is in control of your life and Jesus lives in your heart. But how often do you have to give a reason for this hope? If you find you rarely have to tell someone about the Lord, then ask God for opportunities to share about your hope and He will quickly provide them.
It may be when a telemarketer calls and says, “How are you today?” or the grocery clerk asks, “Do you need help out to your car?” Times like this I will respond, “I really appreciate your help with my groceries. I have rheumatoid arthritis, so this makes a significant difference for me.” This can open up a whole conversation.
Prayer: Lord, give me opportunities to tell people why I have hope in You. Sometimes I grow nervous or am not sure how to approach a conversation. Give me comfort and confidence so I can be obedient in giving the reason for my hope in You and your goodness.
About the Author:
Lisa Copen is the gal who started Rest Ministries from her home office back in 1996. She still runs the ministry from her home office, but God has transformed lives, including her own, through the opportunities He has provided for sharing her hope in Him. Mosaic Moments: Devotionals for the Chronically Ill is a wonderful way to find daily encouragement from her and over 20 other writers. All proceeds keep Rest Ministries going. 1 Peter 3:15 is one of her favorite bible verses on sharing your faith.