Dear Pastor Andy, I have a friend, and she doesn’t believe in Christ or any of that – she never did. She says she’s “too smart” and has thought up a theory of what happened, and so I worry about her. Her life is hectic, a recent flood wrecked her dad’s house so she can’t visit him, and I just want to help her. I have a strange longing to help her, but I don’t know how. I’m afraid to ask her to go to church and I just don’t know what to do PLEASE HELP.
I always find it interesting when somebody thinks they’re too smart to believe in God, because if they’re really all that smart, they would see God everywhere, if not find more ways to seek Him, especially when you come across people who ask if there’s any evidence of God anywhere other than the Bible, because tons of secular writers throughout history had written about Jesus and His teachings. And even though the most Jews today don’t accept Jesus as the promised Messiah, they do at least confirm His existence.
However, I do believe it’s tough for a non-believer to accept God’s existence (or even His concern for His creation) when things are going bad, and it’s easy to ask where He is in all that’s happening to them. So if you want to help your friend with everything going on in her life, then I would suggest that you just be the friend that she needs right now, because when Jesus takes on such a main spot in our lives, He will shine through in our words and concern for our non-believing friends. Maybe one day she’ll be open to asking you about this Jesus you pray to, and to hearing your answer, but if she’s not ready, then she’ll continue to reject Jesus and push away anything you have to say about Him.
As for inviting her to church, I say ask her. The worst she can say is ‘no’, right? There was actually a time, before attending seminary, when I didn’t attend church, and my girlfriend at the time invited me to her church’s annual picnic. As soon as I learned that this energetic guy doing flips and with whom I was playing soccer, was the Pastor, I just had to hear him preach. I later became a regular attender (and even though I no longer attend his church, we’re best friends to this day). So the next time your church has an event or picnic, I say try inviting her to it. Then keep inviting her to such, allowing her to get to know others in the church. You may find her asking about the participation of some of the people next time you invite her. And since it’s not so much of a “frontal attack”, she may put her guard down and allow the Lord to reveal Himself to her. Then, when she begins asking questions, be ready to share your experiences and testimony (as Peter tells us to do).