Let me say at the start that I don’t know many Irish people. There has always been a small part of me that thought of myself as being of Irish decent, but that was based on gut instinct (and my love of Lucky Charms) rather than scientific proof. To my delight, a few years ago, I was able to spend about 20 minutes with 2 brothers who were visiting Chicago the same time I was there. I was with our church doing some work with a local church in the area known as Wrigleyville. Just a few feet from the front of Wrigley Field, I made 2 Irish friends. These fellas were a hoot. They had been drinking since mid day and I caught up with them about seven o’clock in the evening. (I didn’t catch up with them drinking but simply crossed paths with them).
I had been doing community surveys for several days and had been able to meet a variety of people. These guys stood out and will never be forgotten. The survey simply asked a few questions such as issues within the community, ideas to make it better, how can a local church help, do you consider yourself religious, and if you could ask God one question what would it be? These guys stumbled by and soon we were best friends (not that they probably remember because they had been drinking since mid day) for a few moments. They gladly took the survey and in a remarkable moment of clarity when they got to the last question. The brothers looked at each other and then one spoke and said, ‘Danny, this is a loaded question.’ He said he wanted to ask God what his future looked like and who he would marry. His brother patted him on the back and said it was the nicest thing he had heard him say. In that moment, I shared the gospel with them and they listened intently. The moment was short as they soon left in a song of revelry and that is the last I saw of them.
The moments we have with the people we encounter is often short. I would even say these moments are far from being set up the way we think they should be set up for sharing the gospel. Hope is in short supply for many today and the small uncomfortable moments are often the times God gives us to share the story of grace with them. I could fill this post with story after story of talking to people at odd times about Christ. I could also fill this post with story after story of remaining silent because I didn’t seethe moment as right for me.
I have written about hope more indepth before, but far too often I keep that word in the deeply academic realm. The hope we have in Christ should always be practical and on display so that at the uncomfortable and inconvenient moments we can share as best we know how with our families, coworkers, drunk Irishmen, or whoever else may cross our paths. As a Christ follower, you are a display of hope. You are presenting a message in one way or the other each moment of the day. Take time to consider that you are not holding to a form of hope but to the One who IS hope. Christ is our hope and we face the future with confidence. Hope allows us to view the past and present different because of Him. Don’t be afraid but be faithful to live out this hope that you have and upon which you have set your eyes. If you happen to be near Wrigley Field, don’t be afraid of two Irish brothers who may have had too much of the local flavors!