Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Pain of Death

It's a strange fate, a strange feeling entirely, to hear about a friend, someone you know who turns from the faith. You don't even have to know them well, just have said hello, talked with them once or look at someone face to face with a friendly smile, and know that the person before you is going to go to the rate they're going. Its ironic, almost.
Later that night, as the lot of us arrived at the before mentioned friend's house, the night went on with all the usual late night hanging out...we went from playing a few sheets of music, to watching various movies, getting out a few board games, all the usual.
The music didn't go as well. Piano, electric guitar, classic acoustic guitar, and a half-trained violin(yeah, our own little makeshift music group) don't exactly mix. After a few rounds of "Loch Lomond," "Croatian Rhapsody Remix" and other such infamous titles...we gave it up at about 1 AM, totally satisfied with our scratchings of music.
And naturally, for four insane guys at 1 AM, a late night, after-midnight snack is necessary. A given, in fact, after all the hard talent put into the music band show.
All four of us sat around the table, Sam and me eating while John and Matthew still cooked behind the counter, snacking occasionally. The conversation drifted from church music preformance on Sunday, to those coming or not coming, and finally our friend Stephen.
I sighed and listened grimly as Matthew, who of all the four of us most knew and stayed in touch with him, related what he knew as he leaned on the table.
"We always differed a little on beliefs, and he always had a little more unusual views on things." Matthew was usually an outgoing, easy going type of guy, but he did take his beliefs fairly seriously. "Finally it just got to the point where I outright disagreeed, and you guessed it...finally he just left the Christian sphere altogether." He shrugged.
John, the quieter one, nodded understandingly. "I saw some posts on Facebook, he claims..." He paused, sighing uneasily. "He's found 'other ways to God'...and has questions that he can't answer in the Bible."
This got my attention, as usual. As always, I was the one who liked to hear any kind of argument anyone could bring against the Bible and Scripture, or any of the many 'questions' people asked about the faith.
I raised an eyebrow. "What kind of questions?"
John turned to look at me and laid down his plate. "Thanks Matthew." Matthew nodded, and the other went on. "I don't know, that's what I asked...he hasn't responded."
I grunted. Wasn't too rare these days.
This time it was Matthew who spoke up, sadly, but with a little wisdom. "I don't talk with him much on the subject, unless he brings it up...its become a little bit of a sore subject for us." He laughed a little, we joined him.
"I can imagine." I replied, and Sam nodded, his mouth still crammed with food as he ate faster than the other three of us put together.
"But still, we should keep trying. Try to help." I offered, a little awkwardly. It was a delicate subject, but someone's soul was in the balance there.
Matthew took our plates and placed them back in the kitchen, somewhere. "Yes, I know...we certainly aren't just going to give up and forget it. But I've been with a lot of different people before, Alex." He was right there, I gave him that. He probably knew more about evangelizing than I did, having been to many places and with many people for that reason.
"And if there's one thing I've learned in the past, its that you can't control people." He finished, grimly. "Nobody can make up his mind for him, if he decides he doesn't want to be a believer...he won't be. We won't be able to change him, no matter how much truth we throw in his face."
I sat back and pondered this. "Yes, true enough." He was right, I knew, but it was a different light I hadn't really considered carefully enough before in my too-few attempts to evangelize. When all was said and done, we could only plant a seed in his or her heart, and stand back to hope it sprouts. And pray for His Spirit. No amount of truth telling, preaching, even well-intentioned urging would help at all...when all was said and done, you really couldn't control but the slightest details in such things. People will make up their own minds...or rather, God's will reigns supreme over all minds, saved or not.

Just tonight, at Bible Study, as the prayer list was set up as usual before the study itself in Romans began, John mentioned aloud Stephen's name and situation. Having been fairly well known, we all prayed. I dearly hope his dark path is not real or set in that direction, and so I prayed. I do believe that God has 'predestined,' if you will, who is saved and who is rather than pray he be saved, and make up his mind for truth, I prayed that God would give him the light and truth he needed, and only God could put there. I fervently hope it is in His Will.
I used to believe it was hard to trust God with my own soul, my own life. Now I find it is many times harder to trust Him with the souls and lives of others in my own heart...especially when I know the fate of so many has already been decided.
But still, God has brought worse wretches back from the brink and darkness before...exmaple, look at me.
I'm too lazy tonight to upload and add on the song I wanted to go with this post(usually up in the player), so tonight you merely get a Youtube link. I warn you though...its hard rock. But if you do care to listen, pay close attention to the lyrics...and enjoy, naturally.
The video has a grim, but true meaning too.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds