We drove 3.5 hours to reach the top of the mountain that borders Slovakia, where we’d been invited to share our story with a group of creatives who were mainly unbelievers. After the talk, I found myself sitting in a small group with people I’d never met before. The guy next to me opened a bag of potato chips and poured me a glass of Kofola (Czech version of cola).
The man sitting across me said his name and quickly added, “I’m an atheist,” looking straight into my eye.
I couldn’t help but smile. I love meeting atheists because I know God loves them and I’ve seen His love break through the most hardened hearts.
The purpose of the late evening meeting was answering the question — What drives you? I prayed silently about what to say.
Just be you. Don’t worry about offending the atheist and other silent atheists in the group.
Later in our group discussion, the atheist asked me what I thought of there being so many atheists in the Czech nation (Czechia is among the most atheistic nations in Europe). And I began to sense that he really did want to talk about his faith. We all believe in something — whether it’s God or just ourselves. He told me that when he was presented with the theory of evolution and creation in elementary school, he chose to believe he came from bacteria.
Compassion filled my heart. In that moment, I wanted to explain the reality of God and His great love for us in a way that he could understand. But as words left my mouth, they hung in the air and faded into the thin air.
I remembered the apostle Paul saying that we did not come to you with the wisdom of man but with the power of God. Looking at this son of Adam, I wished my words could penetrate through the apparent wall encased around his heart.
And the only thing that came to mind was the story of a dear loved one who told me she no longer believed in God, how that had broken my heart and yet how God had given me the grace to tell her that regardless of what she believed I loved her.
And before I could continue he told me,
“Don’t worry. She’s going to come back.”
I thanked him for saying that and I went on to tell him that God’s Word says the same about all of us — while we were still sinners Christ died for us — that while we are self-proclaiming atheists, God loved us and loves us still.
By now, the rest of the group had left and I bid him goodnight. As I looked out into the mountains covered in a foggy mist early the next morning, I thought of him and prayed the Holy Spirit would touch his heart and move at the camp.
I remembered that it takes far more than one conversation to bring a person to Christ. I thought of my friend, Franta and the many heated discussions we’d have about faith and God. He had said that there was no way he could ever become a believer.
And yet the time came when Franta not only became my friend but a brother in Christ. And maybe I had met this new atheist friend just so he could have one more person praying for him. My words may never convince anyone but the Holy Spirit will. God’s Word says, if you seek me, you will find me.
And that’s my prayer for him and for all of us — that we might truly seek God and know the love of God in the depths of our hearts. Because when you encounter the love of God, you will never be the same.
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