Today a co-worker (not for the first time) tracked me down and tried to ask me spiritual questions.
Now, I know I should be rejoicing at her interest in spiritual things, or at least, in why I am so “weird.” But instead, I became very nervous and quickly found an excuse to run off and finish up some work.
It all began during a friendly discussion yesterday when I casually mentioned my pastor doesn’t like to use the word “luck.” When my co-worker questioned why, I pointed out we believe everything in life is pre-ordained by a sovereign God.
She seemed genuinely stymied, and said something to the effect that was a “shocking” thing to say. She went on to say that if everything in life is pre-ordained then there is no hope – what will be, will be (and all that jazz).
I was uncomfortable talking so openly about this. Mainly, of course, because I am not a theologian. Secondly, because I’m not so sure myself how the balance works in the whole free-will vs. pre-ordination see-saw.
My experience in witnessing is more along the friendship evangelism model and mostly includes the words, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”
When I witness, the emphasis is put on Jesus’ sacrifice, death on the cross, and miraculous resurrection. Truth is, I’m a bit simplistic in my understanding and trust in the Bible and its absolute authority in my life.
I’ve never wanted to delve deeper. I’m an empathetic person, so my connection to salvation is based on how God works personally – not in the nuts-and-bolts of theology.
I suppose there is also a generational difference. My generation is of the “Live and Let Live” tolerance, acceptance, etc. variety – and I’m afraid I’ve bought into that myself at times.
Having to explain something so technical and theological, in defense of my own beliefs, seems unnecessary – “I believe it, and it’s good enough for me” is my thought (and I know many others in differing religions who feel the same – in today’s day and age, it’s a hard argument to get past)
So, when someone tracks me down and wants to talk specifics about pre-ordination, free will, and the existence or non-existence of luck, I’m out of my bailiwick.
This particular co-worker is very intelligent and of the deep-thought variety, so I’m scared of messing up. *If my explanation is what lies between her and salvation, I fear my inevitably weak explanation.
Which so far has been, “It’s, um, complicated. Oh darn, my lunch is over. See you later!” And I skitter off to my office praying for forgiveness, even as I sink into my desk chair in relief.
The fact is that I did study theology in college, but I studied it to get through college. To me, the basics were good enough, and when I shared the truth with people, I could relate on a personal level how God has worked in my heart.
However, there are those smart people out there- much smarter than I - who need facts, figures, and small-scale models to figure out the “whys” in life. And my co-worker falls into this camp.
I also have trouble with offering defense, since my basic premise is, “’Cause the Bible said so!” If my opponent or even eager listener doesn’t give credence to the Word of God, then my argument (as it is) falls apart.
So, then do I start by proving the Bible is the true? And how do I start that explanation?
I guess what I’m looking for here is HELP! How do I explain pre-ordination, a sovereign God, and why life pre-ordained by a sovereign God would not be hopeless, robotic life?
If you are of a theological bent, please help! This co-worker is insatiably curious, and I can’t help thinking this is a clear sign from the Lord that I am supposed to DO something.
Please offer guidance!
*Obviously, I know my explanation would not save anyone, and God can use my words to His glory any way He wants. I’m speaking of my own fear of human failure, based on my lack of knowledge.