It was a gorgeous summer’s day in the middle of France. Our group of eight was joyfully hiking down a mountain, soaking in the beauty of God’s creation and the last hours of our rest day.
In the joyful atmosphere, members of the group made jokes, which drew the attention of another group of hikers. We struck up a conversation. The three men in the other group joked about getting down the mountain in time for their beer, and they were dragging along a 10-year-old girl. “You want water?” they said to her. “Well, we don’t have any!”
Thankfully, I did, and the girl gulped the water thirstily. Smiling, I began praying inwardly: “Lord, give us a chance to share the gospel with them.”
Our walk continued, and our new companions began to question why our group consisted of someone from northern France, someone from the South, and me, a Scott. Once the truth came out that we were from a church group, a whole panorama of questions spewed from their inward grumblings. “So, where are your limits? I mean, like rules?”
How to show him that life with God isn’t about rules, but about living fully for God, that that really is the best life possible? I wondered. Enthusiastically hopping down the path, sun shafting through the leaves, I attempted to share even the tiniest glimpse of the joy of living with God.
“But no, it’s so sad—redemption and all. Christ is always suffering on the cross!” he said.
Redemption…sad? What a twisted view of God! I thought.
“Redemption is deliverance!” I replied. May he understand this joyful acclamation of truth!
Despite his obvious confusion, he persevered in his questioning.
Rather abruptly, our path led out of the forest, and I saw the parking lot, a necessary end to this God-given opportunity. Though he had laughingly rejected the gospel, he thanked me for answering his curiosity. And I, in return, thanked God for these 30 minutes of a sun-filled explanation of abundant life in Christ.
Molly Moench participated in an OM France summer outreach. She and her husband serve in full-time campus ministry in Clermont-Ferrand, France, with another organisation.