Be Prepared

by Christina Hice

About two years ago a gentleman called the church; he had the wrong number. I don’t remember where he was trying to call but he called here. His name is Stanley, he is in his mid-sixties to seventies, and he speaks with the most delightful New York/Northern New Jersey accent. He continues to call, somewhat regularly; he called last week.

Stanley talked for about fifty minutes. When he calls, I just listen. It’s a challenge to get a word in edgewise with Stanley…he is both lonely and has a lot to talk about. He covers the spectrum from Romantic poets (think back to your English Lit class and Shelley and Blake) to the secular teachings of Jesus (I know…I was surprised there was such a thing also!). He seems well educated but lost.

And when he called this time, it was due to loss. His mom passed November 10, 2020, and he is struggling. He is struggling with that loss, with having no other family, with disconnection from neighbors during this pandemic, with legal issues, and, I think, with spiritual issues.

Stanley repeatedly tells me he is an atheist. He does not believe that God is real but does believe Jesus was a good man who walked this earth and had some excellent teachings on how to live. Yet in this conversation, Stanley asked me to send him some scripture because he was struggling so much. He asked for verses about peace because he is not resting and he is not at peace. He wanted some hope.

I emailed Stanley some scripture, but I also gently pointed out that knowing the Author is really where peace and hope are found, that verses separated from the One who authored them could be comforting in the moment but would not bring true peace.

We are two years into a global pandemic and there are many suffering and lost people who think they may need peace and want a little verse or platitude but who really need the Prince of Peace. Stanley cannot possibly be the only one. Somebody’s wrong number could be your opportunity to share the Hope that you have.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 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 NIV)

Lord, as we walk through our days, help us to be aware of every opportunity You give us to share our Hope in You. Help us to see and hear the brokenness and loss around us. Give us wisdom and boldness to lovingly speak your truth. And help our hearts to overflow with thankfulness and love for you, that we may share this with those you put in our path. Amen.

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