As part of Upward soccer coach training, we had the opportunity to hear from an excellent speaker regarding child evangelism. He made some great comments about how the biggest things we can do are to not confuse children and try to keep things simple and concise and clear up any misconceptions. It was a fabulous opportunity.
We also had a unique opportunity in our small group to discuss some of these very same concepts with an adult, and I can tell you that it's not nearly as easy as it sounds with an adult compared to a child. Yes, the adult can understand more, but it is so much more difficult to get from that place of understanding to that open and genuine acceptance. That's why Jesus said we must become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.
I remembered or came up with an analogy after last night's discussion. God's grace and the gift of Jesus (fully God as well) and His death on the cross to pay the price for our sins is really this simple:
Through His death and resurrection, He has sent us a lifesaving ring from the edge of the ship. It has landed within arm's reach. Maybe we can't see the ring or the ship because of the wind and the waves. Maybe we can't reach out and grab it because we are so busy trying to keep our head above water. But it is there. The part that is difficult for people who are already saved to accept, is that we can't wrap someone's hands around it. They have to reach that point where they see it AND are willing to stop paddling in the water long enough to latch their arms around the float. Only then will God's Holy Spirit start to draw them closer to safety. They will no longer be drowning, but that's when they will start to grow closer to Him and undergo the transformative process that will take them through the rest of their life here on earth.
There is no magic bullet. There is no special prayer I can tell someone to pray. It has to take that specific decision and action of reaching out and grabbing onto that lifeline with every ounce of strength you have left. Then, you keep hold of that while you are pulled ever closer to eternal safety. Sometimes the hard part for us, is keeping hold of that line, rather than thinking we are close enough we can just start swimming toward the ship.