Fast. Faster. Fasting.
Kelsey and I began a ten day fast this morning. We don't jump into these things lightly...usually they are birthed in bewildered conversations where we find ourselves having both been sensing the same thing. This happened to us over the weekend.
For me, it started with a poorly attended garage sale.
We were cleaning out a few things and dumping a few treasures on our unsuspecting neighbors, but there weren't many takers. In the midst of the lack of a crowd, a woman drove up and got out. She was white, in her late 30's and had three children in tow. She was quiet but pleasant and her children were very well mannered. As she looked through our used homeschool book selection, I noted her expensive shoes and handbag. Her glasses gave her a studious look. I remember thinking she seemed very well educated.
Did I mention she was wearing a burqa? Oh yea. That too. Classy shoes, an expensive purse, and a burqa. Without making hasty generalizations, it was safe to assume that she was not born into a muslim family. Somewhere along the line she had converted to Islam. Her two older children were very white, the younger looked to be of middle eastern descent. Here, standing in my driveway, was a human being with a fascinating story...one of a radical change in world view. What initiated the change? How much of the conversion was related to the marriage? What was her 'before' life like? What was her 'now' like?
I was so struck by the story behind this woman that I found it hard to think about anything else. I began to pray that God would give me a clear word for her - a piece of truth that would strike her heart. Something that would speak to the whatever within her that thought it had found it's answer in Allah. This is the part of the story where it would be great to relate a replaying of the woman at the well story, where I get some dramatic download of information and, upon hearing it, she is gloriously converted and runs off to tell her friends.
That's not quite how it happened. In fact, that's not at all how it happend. In reality, she quietly bought a few books, loaded her children in her minivan and drove off, dressy shoes, expensive handbag, studious glasses, burqa and all. There I stood, conduit for the glorious God of all creation...and I had nothing to say to her.
This is not the reality I signed up for.
Here's the deal...for all of our talk of kindness and relational evangelism and winning people's hearts, it wouldn't have worked in this encounter. This woman was, according to my vast experience in judging people in split seconds ala Malcolm Gladwell, pretty content with her life. Her kids were beautiful. Her van was shiney. Although I'm no judge of burqa quality, it appeared more Ann Taylor than Walmart. Nothing short of an encounter with God's power is going to affect her. Or her husband. Or the 5-8 million other muslims in the US.
So...in light of what was needed, what did I do? I made change for a twenty. I had nothing to say to her...no word of knowledge, no paradigm shaking comment. Nothing but fifteen dollars and four or five textbooks. I was given a chance to swing for the bleachers, I didn't even bother to try to bunt. Whoosh! went the ball. Crack! went the catcher's glove. The Pitcher sort of shook his head. I'm going back to the dugout.
So. I'm fasting. I have faith in the message. I believe in the power. I'm not so confident in myself as a conduit of either. I'm more than willing forego the food of the flesh if I can have an encounter that would make this sort of situation turn out differently next time.