Prepared to Answer?

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

It was a rough week. What could go wrong, did go wrong. I was lamenting my woes to a family member over the phone and expressing my dismay over the way life was treating me when he suddenly asked a question I have never forgotten: “I thought you were a Christian, Toni?”

“I am,” I replied.

“Then why are you so upset over these things? I thought a Christian was supposed to find joy in everything, regardless of the circumstances?”

You could have knocked me over with a feather! I was speechless for a moment, said a quick “help me know what to say Lord” prayer, then stumbled my way through an explanation he seemed to appreciate and understand. Whew!

This uninformed view of Christianity is, for many, a skewed image of what becoming a Christian truly means. Some believe we are magically transformed into perfect, sinless people who are never to experience pain or heartache again. In the face of pain and suffering, we are to smile, forgive, let go, be healed and rejoice! And if we don’t, we are hypocrites. If we have a human moment and fall short of godliness, we are worse than hypocrites, we are Christian hypocrites and the reason they will never step foot in a church again!

Sadly, I’ve witnessed a few televangelists claim that if we have true faith, we will never get depressed or make mistakes (sin). If we have true faith, anything we ask in the name of Jesus will be granted, regardless of what it is! If we have true faith, we will always be healed and never suffer! Those types of sermons are usually followed by the dreaded plea for more money to continue the work of the Lord. Ugh!

I, like you, would love my faith in God to miraculously transform me into painless perfection, but as our lead Scripture tells us, in this world, we will have trouble!

When Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble,” it was to warn us about the evil that lurks around every corner, doing its best to take us away from our faithful relationship with Him. Trouble does not come from the Lord, but the Lord helps us overcome our troubles.

Those who think we must be perfect when becoming a Christian run for the hills because they think this means giving up all things fun and adventurous. Then there are those who think faith isn’t all it’s cracked up to be because they’ve witnessed devout Christians suffer and even die while fervently praying for healing.

Many will ask, “If God wants me to give up my fun and adventurous life and won’t take care of me when I ask Him to, why become a Christian? Since the Bible says we will still have trouble, then why bother? Who wants more trouble?”

Faith in God does not give us a non-stick coating that makes stress, sorrow, and pain slip off and fall way. Our faith in God does, however, allow us a safe place to land, with a loving Father who holds us close while life’s difficulties try to bring us down.

My relationship with Jesus is what brings me joy and helps me over life’s hurdles. Since Jesus took on the sin of the world, but even more personally, took on my sin, why would I not love Him? Why would I not give Him my utmost respect and admiration for securing my place in heaven?

My faith in God is not predicated on what He does or does not do for me. My faith is based on a loving relationship that provides help and comfort, but not always the way I desire it. The love and respect I have for my Creator is what drives me to want to be a better me every day. If you were to offer me a million dollars to go back and re-live the past 30 plus years as a non-Christian, I would not take it! Nothing compares to life in Christ!

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

If you were asked the same question I was asked, how would you respond? Whether you are a new Christian or a seasoned veteran, I encourage you to always be ready with your statement of faith. Your response does not have to be flowery or full of memorized Scripture, just from your heart. Why do you love Jesus?

Father God, thank You for Jesus! Thank You for allowing me to live my life as a Christian who knows where she’s going when she dies. Please, please touch the hearts and minds of those I love who still don’t understand this gift of salvation and grace. I love You more than words can fully express. In the matchless name of my Lord, Savior and Friend, amen.

In His embrace,

Toni

If anything from this post inspired or encouraged you, please share it with others. Thank you!

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16 comments to Prepared to Answer?

  • Joann  says:

    Amen!

    • Toni  says:

      Thank you for the Amen! Miss you Joann!

  • Marg  says:

    Such an important and fundamental message, yet easily forgotten. Thanks for the timely reminder, my friend!

    • Toni  says:

      Thank you Marg! When life gets us down, He lifts us up! ☺

  • Ann  says:

    I hadn’t thought much about defending my faith, until I got a teenager who questioned everything! 🙂 Now I try to keep myself ready as much as possible. I have the books “A Case for Christ”, and “A Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel, which I like to review now and then. I know I’m not going to be able to answer every question, but by-golly I want to be as prepared as possible. Sometimes people just have questions that throw us, though.(Sometimes they are even trying to throw us off.) Thanks for sharing this, Toni!

    In His Lo♥e, Ann

    • Toni  says:

      Ann,
      Thank you for a lovely comment. I’m a big fan of Lee Strobel too. He was at my home church in Las Vegas a month or so ago. I so wish I could have been there, but I was able to watch the video online. Praying for you Ann!

  • Nancy Yoshida  says:

    A good example of how we can lift others up , and the importance of having a great friend that is an accountability partner. Thanks for always being mine.Maybe your family member didn’t realize the impact he had on you, but it took you to that place where we go as Christians, to the arms of our Beloved Jesus.Love you my friend.

    • Toni  says:

      Dearest Nancy, my friend and sister in Christ. You bless me with your words of love and comfort.
      There is no better place than in the arms of Jesus!

      Love you my friend!!

  • Michael Craft  says:

    “This uninformed view of Christianity is, for many, a skewed image of what becoming a Christian truly means.”
    People that aren’t Christians and, sadly, Christians themselves have been taught a very skewed image of what being a Christian is all about! We have a RELATIONSHIP with God and we are on a journey with Him. We do have our problems but we still have hope no matter how small inside of us–it’s so plain and simple. Sometimes we can have a ton of faith and sometimes we have very little faith. I’ve been given that line many times by both parties. Christians that are hyper-spiritual are the most condemning. It’s easier to actually tell a unbeliever, “I’m human. I have fallacies and I need to vent like the rest of humanity. Can you just listen?” WIth the hypers, they think you are using an excuse for your supposed “lack of faith”. They are the immature ones–not acknowledging your pain and loving you thru a crisis. Of course, my immature response to someone hurting you, Toni, would be, “You show me this person and I’ll bop them in the head for being so insensitive!” I’ve said that to my wife many times when someone has hurt her–but I say it in more colorful language. Great words from the heart, my dear sister in the Lord! Keep going! You are wonderful!

    • Toni  says:

      Thank you so much Michael for your encouraging words. I love your thoughts on the subject too! It made me smile when I read how you would defend me. You are such a wonderful brother in the Lord! I miss you and your beautiful bride so much!

      Be blessed my friend!

  • Monica  says:

    Amen Toni, I am really going through it myself right now, but it’s okay cause like Paul said in Acts 20:19 ” I serve the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing….”, this is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life (this christian walk) but JESUS bought me at a very high price and HE loves me, HE said I will have trouble, but I am going to make it if I stick with HIM and do what HE says, HE is so faithful, I can trust HIM, and nothing else in this world can be trusted or depended on like JESUS, so I am thankful and grateful that HE did what HE did for me, I love HIM, and that’s it, so it’s all worth it, cause my life is not my own any more, so when life hurts, I just turn to HIM, HIS promises and HIS people,, we are going to make it!!! Rev 7:9-17 is a great reminder of what’s to come,,Amen!!! Love you Toni and all you sisters and brothers in the faith, be encouraged!!!!

    • Toni  says:

      Monica,

      I’m so sorry things are heating up for you again, but oh so thankful for your trust in our great God. He will see you through, no matter what the situation. He loves you more than you will ever fully know and will be with you each and every step of the way. Be encouraged Monica, the Lord of all creation is with you this very moment.

      Praying for you Monica!

      The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

  • Sheila  says:

    Toni~
    I ususally read your blogs as soon as they come out, but God had this one waiting in His perfect timing! Thank You for your vulnerability in sharing your heart and making it so relatable to my heart. As you know life has been so full lately with many different things, but I loved the line you wrote “My faith in God is not predicated on what He does or does not do for me. My faith is based on a loving relationship that provides help and comfort, but not always the way I desire it.” Life’s struggles will always be here because this is not our home and people are always going to question us and our faith if we have a bad day, but we are so BLESSED to know we can stand on His promises. It is comforting to know when I don’t understand everything or struggle because I do understand everything that God knew there would be these days and even prepares our hearts for these days. We are doing a study on Spiritual Warfare with Chip Ingrahm and one of the most profound lines he has shared is…”We are not running to victory, but FROM victory. Every day is not perfect, but I am sure glad my God is perfect and every battle is WON!

    Love you…
    Sheila

    • Toni  says:

      Oh Sheila, you are a breath of fresh air. You are so right on when you remind us “this is not our home”. For some, this is confusing, but for those of us firmly grounded in Christ, this is very good news! Praying fervently for all who do not know just how good this news truly is. The other good news is knowing we have wonderful friends and family who walk through this life with us. So glad God brought you into my world!

  • Trease  says:

    I felt it was Gods perfect timing that I should read your message today.
    Toni, I see such growth from first we met.
    You my friend, are the bomb and whether we are near or far, I so appreciate
    all the work you are doing for Christ here on earth.
    If I can’t live near you, we will dance together in Heaven.
    Hugs and Blessings to you and your family.

    • Toni  says:

      Dancing in Heaven? I’m in!!
      Thank you my friend for such kind words of love and encouragement.

      Love you much!!

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