As the pandemic continues to grow in India and East Asia, scientists and other across social media are dumbstruck about it. They can’t understand how the Indian government didn’t see this coming. They can’t figure out how a modern nation wouldn’t take necessary steps to advance its public health and guard against the virus. They can’t come to terms with how all the data, warnings, and pleas that they broadcast seemed to fall on deaf ears. After all, the situation was clear, right? We all knew this would happen – why didn’t they?
And in one moment of clarity this morning, it hit me.
Now scientists know how Christians feel.
Ultimately, India’s minds will be changed because they will see that what they did isn’t working. The government-controlled press is already rebelling against its master. Its people are realizing that the path chosen was the wrong path, and unfortunately, it took a mass disaster to get there. But don’t be surprised. How many of those who are Christians today emerged from the wreckage of a life lived otherwise?
Christians spend countless hours sharing their faith with others. While a handful do this for the wrong reasons, most are sharing because they genuinely care about the listeners. They see a truth that is real and important and want others to know about it. To the believer, it is as plain as morning sunlight.
But despite best efforts and prayers, many listeners just don’t see things the way we do. They dismiss our message and continue to walk the path of their own choosing, leaving Christians to wonder what they have done wrong. And it takes a catastrophe for them to begin questioning that path.
If you have been there, take heart. We have watched entire nations do the same thing to scientists, scientists with the benefit of tangible, evidential, empirical data that make their conclusions irrefutable. Like missionaries, pastors, and “voices crying out in the desert”, they have cried out for us to listen, and are befuddled at how many have not. India was more concerned with its global image and reputation, loudly advertising that they had “beaten the virus” and that there would be no additional concerns there. They created vaccines for the purposes of exporting them so that they would look like the earth’s saviours.
Now they stand broken and in need of saving.
Do you see now why the path to the Kingdom is narrow? It’s not that God doesn’t love everyone or doesn’t want everyone to know Him. It is that so many will be shown the path and then decide to walk another anyway. They will value other things more than God, and it will take a profound moment of humility to shift that mindset. The path of grace is always there – our inability to see it doesn’t change that.
Jesus knew this. He told us before He left the earth to “baptize” and “teach” what He has commanded. Note that He didn’t say “convert”. The two things He asked us to do COME AFTER the moment of surrender, AFTER the moment of repentance, AFTER the moment when they see God for the first time. They are how the Christian community helps the broken to pick up the pieces and see that narrow path, finally, for what it is.
Scientists are learning today the lesson that Christians have known for millennia. You can’t bludgeon people with your message tyrannically. You can’t “data and chart” attitude change. And for every person that listens, there will be one that does not. And if that is true, maybe we aren’t as powerful as we all think we are.