1 Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

My cousin’s name was Horst.  Horst had a lot of troubling memories from his life, especially his childhood.  He had scary memories of World War 2.  He had bitter memories of being driven by the Russians from the family farm in Pomerania.  He also had memories of a pastor there who gave confusing answers to Horst’s questions in confirmation class.

Horst spent a lot of time thinking about his unpleasant memories.  He was sick for many years and was not able to do the things he had once loved to do.  The bitterness of his childhood grew sharper, and the unclear answers he had received as a young teenager made him very dissatisfied with God.

When I visited Horst, though, it was never difficult to talk about Jesus.  Why?  Because Horst spoke only German, and my German is, well, not that good.  I speak German like a grade-schooler.  The Bible says, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)  Poor language skills can turn a grown-up into a child in a hurry.  Jesus was talking about more than language skills, of course.  Jesus spoke of a child-like faith that trusts God in and for everything.  Faith trusts God when it doesn’t understand. Faith trusts God for the biggest thing of all, a boundless forgiving love for sinners who deserve only punishment.

Other people talked to Horst about Jesus, too.  They told him it was absurd to believe in God and life after death.  Horst tried to explain their philosophies to me more than once.  I couldn’t understand everything Horst said, but I could always talk to him about Jesus, just the way a child would.  Talking about the cross of Jesus with a childlike faith requires only a child’s vocabulary.  Peter said, “We did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)  We too are eyewitnesses of Christ’s majesty through the power of God’s Word.

 My cousin Horst had time to think about what everyone had told him about Jesus.  I don’t know if God’s Word changed his heart before he died in April.  I do know that there are many more people like him in our world.  I have more German-speaking cousins who struggle with painful questions.  Our missionaries talk to people like Horst every day.  Perhaps you do too.  Thank God for every chance to give the reason for the hope that we have!

Prayer: Lord, give me a childlike faith that loves to talk about you.  Amen.

Deb Bakken
Minnesota Valley Circuit