Ears Open, Hearts Ready
Dr. Jerry Root, Professor of Evangelism at Wheaton College, shared the following story about a time when his flight was delayed and he had a conversation with a woman in the Vienna airport:
“She was wearing a lanyard with a name tag and carrying a clipboard and obviously taking a survey for the airport. When she came to me I asked what her name was. "Allegra," she replied.
"Allegra, are you from Vienna?" She answered, "No, I grew up in southern Austria." With that answer came the permission to ask, "What brought you to Vienna?" She said she was a student. This opened the door to more questions. Where did she go to school? What was she studying?
After 20 minutes or so I knew a good deal about Allegra. I knew her mother abandoned the family to go to Canada with her lover. I learned her father's bitterness was toxic. I learned her brother also attended the University of Vienna, but that they were estranged.
When I expressed my sadness for what seemed to be a good deal of estrangement from the people closest to her, she said it was far worse than she confided. She told me she had a boyfriend who went to study art in Florence for six months. He asked her to wait for him, and she did so. Her boyfriend returned the very day before I met Allegra only to inform her he met somebody better in Florence.
After 20 minutes, she had not asked me one question. I said to her that I knew she had a survey to fill out but that I had been sent to tell her something. She wondered if I was a plant, put there by the airport, to see if she was doing her job. I assured her it was nothing like that, but I had something to say to her once she finished her survey questions.
She rushed through the airport's survey, then put down her pen, looked me in the eye, and eagerly asked, "What were you supposed to tell me?"
Knowing that Allegra felt abandoned and betrayed, I said to her, "Allegra, the God of the universe knows you and loves you; He would never abandon you or forsake you." I said it to her again: "Allegra, he loves you!" Sometimes, it takes three times before the words sink in, so I said it again: "Allegra, he loves you!"
After the third time she burst into loud sobs. Everyone in the gate area was looking in our direction. Through her tears, Allegra blurted out, "But I've done so many bad things in my life!" I responded, "Allegra, God knows all about it and that's why he sent Jesus to die on the Cross for all of your sins and to bring you forgiveness and hope." I was explaining the gospel to ears willing to hear and a heart willing to receive."
That is the good news of Easter. Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, conquered death and offers His forgiveness and love to each of us. This Easter season, do you know someone who needs to hear this good news? Why not step out and invite someone to one of our Easter services? Take a risk. The risen Christ is alive and He is working in the hearts of those all around you.