The following is an excerpt from the book Unexpected Adventure by Lee Strobel. I love how this shows us God is doing stuff we can’t see or understand sometimes, and all he asks of us is our obedience.
When you’re motivated to talk with others about Jesus and you make yourself available for those opportunities, you never know what’s going to happen on what starts out to be an average and routine day. It’s what I call “the unexpected adventure” of the Christian life.
At the end of a long day at the newspaper where I was an editor, I was packing up to leave when I felt the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit. I sensed God leading me to go into the business office and invite my atheist friend to come with me to an Easter service at my church. The impression was so strong that I figured something dramatic was about to happen.
I walked into the office. The place appeared empty except for my friend, who was sitting alone at his desk. Perfect! I reminded him that Easter was coming and asked if he would come to church with Leslie and me. He turned me down cold. I asked if he was interested in spiritual matters, and he emphatically said no. I asked if he had any questions about God, and again he said no. I explained why the resurrection was so important, but he wasn’t interested.
With all of my evangelistic overtures being instantly shut down, I began to feel embarrassed. If God really had prodded me to talk with him, then why was he so uninterested? Finally, I stammered as I backed out of the office, “Well, uh, if you’ve ever got any questions, um, I guess you know where my desk is.”
What was that all about? I couldn’t understand why he was so resistant. I finally concluded that maybe I was going to be one link in a long chain of influences that would eventually lead him to Christ. Yet, as far as I know, he remains a skeptic to this day.
Skip ahead a few years. By this time I was a teaching pastor at a church in suburban Chicago. After I spoke one Sunday, a middle-aged man walked up, shook my hand, and said, “I just want to thank you for the spiritual influence you’ve had in my life.”
“That’s very nice,” I said. “But who are you?”
“Let me tell you my story,” he replied. “A few years ago I lost my job. I didn’t have any money and I was afraid I was going to lose my house. I called a friend of mine who runs a newspaper and said, ‘Do you have any work available for me?’ He asked me, ‘Can you tile floors?’ Well, I had tiled my bathroom once, so I said, ‘Sure.’ He told me, ‘We need some tiling done at the newspaper; if you can do that, we can pay you.’
“So one day, shortly before Easter, I was on my hands and knees behind a desk in the business office of the newspaper, fixing some tiles, when you walked into the room. I don’t think you even saw me. You started talking about God and Jesus and Easter to some guy, and he wasn’t interested at all. But I was crouching there listening, and my heart was beating fast, and I started thinking, ‘I need God! I need to go to church!’
“As soon as you left, I called my wife and said, ‘We’re going to church this Easter.’ She said, ‘You’re kidding!’ I said, ‘No, we are.’ We ended up going to your church that Easter—and my wife, my teenage son, and I all came to faith in Christ. And I just wanted to thank you!”
I was dumbstruck! This was a new form of outreach: ricochet evangelism, where the gospel bounces off a hard heart and zips around the room until it hits a heart that is more receptive. Who could have foreseen that—except the amazing God of grace?