But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matthew 6:23
I recently had a conversation with a stranger about spiritual things. She was a young woman who was at first blush totally disinterested in the things of God. When she saw my Bible she actually wrinkled her nose and scoffed at me for having one.
She at first denied even believing in God, but as we talked the truth leaked out around the corners. Confused thoughts tumbled out of her mouth as she tried to describe her understanding of God. She could not understand Scripture, said it made no sense to her.
As we talked I was saddened by her obvious spiritual blindness. It was as though a great gulf had been fixed between us and I had no way to get her over to my side. She had many questions about God and snippets of knowledge that were more worldly than anything else. Her questions were antagonistic and even hostile as though she was daring me to have an answer. I doubt she would have known if I were lying to her had I just verbally replied, but I asked her to read each answer straight out of His Word.
Before I was a Christian, no one really spoke to me about Christ in a salvific manner as I did with her, so I don’t recall having the responses I saw in her. There is a specific kind of darkness in the eyes of a person who does not know Christ. Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Matthew 6:22-23a)
This was heartbreaking to behold. This young woman who was a literal stranger to me when we began to talk has weighed heavily on my heart and mind. There seemed to be nothing I could say that would unlock her prison of unbelief. The worst part is that she has some very rudimentary glimmers of knowledge but without the Spirit of God there is no hope of understanding. At one point she said that she knew she did not understand what she was reading out of the Bible. I asked her to read 1 Cor. 2:10-15
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.
Her eyes remained darkened and she seemed to plead with me to make her understand as though I held some power to persuade her. After a time, it appeared that she desperately wanted to be able to be like me. As I explained with verse after verse the difference between the redeemed and the lost, the Light and darkness, and why there is only one way to have a relationship with God she grew more agitated, frustrated that it made no sense to her. This was sorrowful for me. After a while we parted company in a friendly manner. However, we went away as we came- one saved and one lost.
As a result of this time spent with this person (who was a literal stranger to me) these verses are clearer than they ever were before. To be able to see spiritual blindness is a frightening thing to behold. There is a very real sense of powerlessness about this because I realized in application what I know in a theological sense: who gets saved is not up to me or anyone else. We can present every argument perfectly, be the best apologist possible and if the Spirit of God is not illuminating and revealing no change will take place. We are only conduit carrying the power of God where He wills and to whom He chooses. He did not choose to draw her into His family that day.
I may have been scattering seed on hard ground, or perhaps beginning to furrow the ground of her heart. Who am I to question His wisdom in this matter? Who am I to say that God has made a mistake in this case? I am not omniscient as God is, nor do I have the long view He has on her life. She may still come to know Him at some point in her life. My responsibility and my joy is to present Him in the most faithful way possible to the unbeliever and to leave the results to the Lord.
The Spirit of God goes where ever it wishes and will draw those whom He chose. Should I have the opportunity to meet her again, I pray I will know that the time we spent together will have begun the work of change in her heart.
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