Allow Me to Introduce You to My Friend

Dear Reader, We all have to pull together through this pandemic. Many Jesus-loving authors are launching books at a time when they cannot schedule speaking events or reach the public. One of these writers is my dear friend, Lori Hatcher. She’s a godly woman with a deep understanding of biblical truth and a passion to inspire that in others. Her newest book, Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible  is well worth an investment of your time, book-spending cash, and heart. Here is an excerpt particularly dear to my heart. This may not seem like a logical time to consider hard conversations but there are likely to be many in our very near futures:

Ezekiel

Hard Conversations

“You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.”  Ezekiel 2:7

My husband, David, dreaded the conversation he knew needed to take place. Steve was like a brother. They’d attended school together, played high school football, and spent hours hanging out. When Steve came to faith in Christ, David felt almost as excited as the day he’d gotten saved. He watched Steve take his first faith steps and rejoiced when Steve and his wife began studying the Bible together. His childlike faith was inspiring. Although he’d been through some dark times, Steve finally seemed to be headed in the right direction.

And then he wasn’t.

First he wouldn’t answer his cell phone. Then he was too busy at work to take David’s calls. Days went by with no return call. Giving in to the nagging concern that weighed heavily on his heart, David finally drove by his home one evening, hoping to see his car in the driveway.

A mutual friend, similarly concerned, called David with news he never expected to hear.

Steve had quit his job, left his wife, and moved across the country with a woman he’d met at a trade show.

We don’t know what made Steve answer David’s call several weeks later. He’d ignored dozens of other attempts. But the conversation shed some light on what was going on, and it wasn’t pretty.

After listening to Steve’s story, my husband took a deep breath and said what he knew he had to say.

“I’m sorry you’ve been struggling, but this isn’t the answer. I know you want someone to love you, and a home, and a family, but God can’t bless your life when you totally disregard His principles. What you’re doing is wrong, and it’s not going to turn out well. Why not come home and let us help you?”

David reminded Steve of his love and—most importantly—God’s love. “You’ll get through this. With God’s help, you can turn this ship around.”

Steve hung up. We didn’t hear from him for two and a half years.

As my husband grieved the loss of Steve’s friendship and mourned the path he’d chosen, he wondered if things might have turned out differently if he hadn’t confronted Steve about his sin.

God’s words to the prophet Ezekiel reminded him of his responsibility to speak the truth, even when the message is unpopular. “You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious” (Ezekiel 2:7).

As Christians, we’ve been given the privilege of sharing God’s truth with those around us. We find some of this truth easy to receive. Who doesn’t like hearing God loves them and wants to give them a life filled with joy and purpose?

Other parts of God’s truth are hard. Not everyone wants to be reminded that the God who loves us has also established principles to help us achieve that life filled with joy and purpose and bring Him glory through our obedience.

My grandchildren are a classic example of hard truths. They shout “Yippee!” when I walk through the door with ice cream. But they grumble when I require them to wash their hands and sit at the table to eat it. And oh, the pushback I get when I remind them that we eat sweets only in moderation.

The same is true when God prompts us to share His message. Sometimes those with whom we share receive it with gladness and thanksgiving. Other times they scorn, reject, and despise it.

The two and a half years before Steve reached out to David again were long and heartbreaking. The path he had taken was fun and exciting for a while, he told us. Before long, however, its sandy foundation began to crumble. With the broken pieces of his life piled high around him, he finally admitted his need for help. He reached out to those who loved him and began the long journey home. One of the first people he reconnected with was David.

I wish I could say Steve is following the Lord with all his heart, but I can’t. Not yet, at least. But he’s more open and tender, and that’s a good start. When he and my husband talk, Steve knows two things are going to happen. First, David’s going to remind him how much he loves him. Second, he’s going to point him to God, the greatest source of help and healing.

Uncommon Thought

Our responsibility to share God’s truth isn’t determined by others’ responses. We must speak the truth in love and trust God with the results.

Unusual Faith

Do you hesitate to share God’s truth with others because you’re afraid of their reaction? What might happen if you don’t speak the truth? Are you willing to take that chance? Consider that God has placed you where you are because your warning, challenge, or exhortation could change someone’s life. Whether they receive your words with gladness or grumbling, you can rest in the knowledge that you obeyed God. Prayerfully trust Him for the results.

Read Ezekiel 2:1–7.

This post is an excerpt from Lori Hatcher’s latest book, Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible (Our Daily Bread Publishing). Lori is a women’s ministry speaker, blogger, magazine editor, and pastor’s wife. She writes and speaks to help busy women connect with God. Read more from her on Facebook, Pinterest, or her blog, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women (www.LoriHatcher.com).


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1 Comment

    The Conversation

  1. Maggie Rowe says:

    Lori, I am so thankful you published this excerpt today from Lori H’s new book. The daughter of a longtime friend of mine just left her husband for another woman, and her family is devastated. I am going to share this excerpt with my friend.

    So thankful for your book too that helps us have those conversations that are hard, but absolutely vital.