When my daughter, Lydia, was a little girl, she had nightmares pretty regularly. Without fail, when she’d have one of these nightmares, she’d leave her bed and come into me and my husband’s room, sniffling all the way.
She’d stand by my side of the bed until I ‘woke up’ or acknowledge her presence, and then she’d crawl up beside me, lie there for a little while, and I’d pray with her until she felt calm enough to return to her bed.
One time, as she was getting a little older (6 years old), I said to her, “You can always come to me, sweet girl, but even if I’m not here, God is always with you. Always.”
“I know,” she nodded. “But sometimes, you need someone with a face on.”
I smile because this sentiment is as true today as it was when Lydia was 6. God created community so that we can not only ‘see’ Jesus in each other, but also be comforted, loved, encouraged, emboldened, and strengthened in our faith because of the way others show Jesus to us.
Apart from the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, other Christians deepen our understanding of Christ and His work in our world.
That’s why when I saw this recent video interview with 22-year-old NBA player, Jonathan Isaac, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of his portrayal of the gospel.
Whether you agree with his choice to stand and pray during the anthem or not, the more beautiful response is the way he communicated his faith throughout this interview.
No doubt, this kid was under stress. No doubt, he felt pressure in all sorts of directions, but he displayed such peace, humility, kindness, respect, and honesty…all wrapped up in one exchange.
He didn’t blame or become defensive. He didn’t berate or demand his own way. He didn’t plead or attempt to coerce. He didn’t name call or malign.
He “preached” Christ. He shared the Gospel.
He SHOWED Jesus.
In a world, where so many of us are feeling the stretch and strain of stress in ways we never have before, this kid gives us a reminder of what matters most.
And how that truth permeates the way WE show Jesus to the world.
How are we showing Jesus? Are we kind? Do we listen? Do people see someone who is ready to have a nonjudgmental conversation with them? As Christians, are we loving each other through our words and actions to “build each other up”? Are we seeking ways to encourage one another to love and doing good?
Oh, Lord help us!!
We may not have a ‘national’ platform to show the beauty of God’s love like Jonathan Isaac, but we do have right where we are.
The amazing thing about the gospel, the powerful and poignant thing, is that if we place our worries on Christ and allow His peace to steady our hearts no matter the stressors, the natural response is a love that SHOWS.
And this kind of love leads to dialogue, conversations, and positive change with eternal value.
May we, as imperfect and broken as we are, be the FACE of Jesus to each other and to a broken world. In ourselves, we cannot provide the answer to true and lasting peace.
But because of Christ, we can let His face shine through our lives so that others see Him in us. (Matthew 5:16)