I recently remembered something that happened to me on the last night of the Urbana18 missions conference. It was long past midnight on New Year’s Day, and as I took the hotel elevator along with fellow students, two girls joined us. They had been out partying and were definitely a little drunk. I swallowed, not having been in this kind of situation before (I know, I know, “sheltered”). One by one, the other Urbana people got off on their respective floors until it was just me with these two girls.
After a moment, they asked me about the conference and whether I was part of it.
Fear seized me. In an instant, the last thing I wanted them to know was that I indeed was in St. Louis for the conference. The last thing I wanted them to know was that I was a Christian. I was alone. It was late. I was tired. They were drunk. I really didn’t know what to expect.
So all I said was, “Yeah, I’m here for that.”
Fractions of a second later God demanded, “Really?”
I choked out, “It’s a Christian conference for students,” and braced myself.
They thought it was cool (whoa). By that time the elevator had arrived at my floor, so there was no time to talk further, but as I exited they both gave me glittery high-fives and wished me a happy new year.
God keeps reminding me, in and out of the classroom, of how Peter denied Jesus three times because he was afraid of the repercussions. That’s really convicting. If I struggled to confess Jesus as my Lord in the elevator with those girls who turned out to be entirely harmless, what if I’m ever threatened because of my faith?
We like to think we’re really strong Christians. But are we? It’s worth examining.