What next? This question is often in our minds as we seek God’s direction in developing friendships. We visited two families to deliver Eid cards. At the first, amazingly we met a Christian friend who had met this lady earlier in the week in the city centre and just ‘happened’ to be at the house when we arrived. Our card quoted from John 1:29 and also said, “May you enjoy your celebration of God’s provision for Ibrahim, you and the whole world.” Too strong? Too weak? Led by the Spirit or the flesh? The next house we visited hadn’t celebrated, but rather mourned for a relative who had died. We listened and prayed. What next?
This week I visited a Bangladeshi family who were coming to terms with a failed move back to Europe. It was a “chance” visit as I had cycled past the guy only to swing back around to chat for a few minutes before my class. He invited me back for food, which they shared with me. We spoke a lot about God’s plan in the midst of trials. We discussed the meaning of Eid al-Adha and I tried to share the significance of Jesus’ substitution as the Lamb of God dying in our place. They said “Amin” to my prayer for them. But, what next?
I had two men come to the English class and again we shared about the Eid and what Ibrahim’s sacrifice means to both Muslims and Christians. I learned how they donate money to buy a Palestinian family an animal to sacrifice and how one of them misses doing that sacrifice now that he’s in the UK. Honestly, I didn’t think they were that interested in the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. They wanted to go to Cannon Hill Park with me next week, but seemed reluctant to really delve into what distinguishes our two faiths. I wonder, what’s next?
Today, I talked to a long-standing visitor to the Friendship Centre and explained how God is teaching me to trust Him more. She has no issues with 90% of what Christians discuss about their spiritual lives, but the 10% she’d be uncomfortable with just happens to be Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of the church and the rock whose words are life and truth. What next with her?
When I got home from a local community event, I recognised a guy walking by our house with his son. We know him from the football club, and he had had to walk home from somewhere quite far away. I offered him a lift, but he said he just wanted some water for his boy. I got them water and as I drove them home, he told me he had just prayed, “God send someone to give us water,” and thought about asking an Asian brother. But Allah had sent a “man of God” (what he called me) instead – “Bismullah” (all praise to God). I said the Scriptures say, “God knows what you need before you ask Him.” We talked about marriage, and I said that Jess and I were working our way through a course. “You’ve got me signed up,” he said. We’ve talked about faith before and shared about why we fast and other things. The Lord so clearly put him in my path, but still I’m unsure what should happen next.
We don’t know the next steps, but we do seek to be Spirit-led, available and bold. The gospel of Christ is the hope of the nations, and we are here in order to share it. But we need wisdom from above in how and when we share it.