In 1987, I was a seventeen years old. I had made a decision for Jesus a few years earlier. I was young, full of great hope, excited about a life with Jesus, full of potential (still very much all those things) and much to the annoyance of some people, I couldn’t–wouldn’t–stop talking about Jesus. I loved Him. I still do. Only now, even more.
My own family wished I would talk about something else other than my love for Jesus and His church… It just consumed me.
One day, in my eleventh grade English class, we had a substitute teacher who didn’t have the regular curriculum to follow. So she asked us to prepare a three-minute speech. Maybe not the wisest choice, asking seventeen year olds to get up and talk about anything they wanted for three minutes. It was a bit risky.
I didn’t have to think twice. I would get up and tell everyone, I loved Jesus. Give them a couple of bible verses. Then ask them to make a decision right in that moment. What could be easier?…Nothing! …Easy!
I waited for my turn. Finally, I got up and spoke plainly to the class about Jesus. A lot of people responded. I was pretty excited. It was a good day for heaven. I was seventeen and wouldn’t have thought much more about it, but…
Just as I finished, the school bell sounded marking the end of class. Most of the students got up to leave in the usual way but a few students were sitting in their seats with stunned looks on their faces. They were looking at the teacher who was behind me, still in her seat.
I turned around and saw her–I can still see her–head in her hands, elbows leaning on her desk, shoulders heaving, she was crying. She stood up and dismissed the other students, all except for me. I thought, Uh oh, I’m in trouble!
It took a moment for her to begin to speak. I wasn’t in trouble. She began to tell me she was a christian and had never told anyone outside her family because of fear. She told me her excuse was that religion should be private. Something she held close to her heart and it was, she thought, no-body else’s business.
The teacher went on to say that as she heard me talking about how much I loved Jesus it made her realize how wrong she was. Then, she cried some more.
Now, please understand, I was just seventeen. I didn’t know how to process why a grown woman, a teacher, was crying in front of me.
I left the class room with only one thing on my mind, there are christians who don’t talk about their faith in Jesus. I was shocked by that. I couldn’t understand why? I wasn’t shocked that people responded, I expected that. I was completely shocked to learn that there are christians who don’t talk about their faith in Jesus. I was thinking, how can they keep quiet about Him?