Discover Why Christians Don’t Persuade Those Around Them, and What Can be Done About It
My doctor was alarmed.
He stared at me, round-eyed as he examined the ultrasound results. He huffed. A small line of sweat had accumulated on his upper lip, and he shook his head abruptly. Slapping the paper on the counter, he said, “The placenta has partially torn from the uterus wall. There’s a grave chance your pregnancy will be involuntarily terminated.”
I inhaled sharply. A deep pain pierced my chest. Was he warning me of an impending miscarriage?
After all, my son was born to me lifeless just a few years earlier. I never knew why. The memory was vivid: the solemn Army doctor searching my swollen, seven-month pregnant belly for a heartbeat. Me: a nonchalant 21-year-old single mother staring at the ceiling, wondering what was taking so long.
Finally, the Army doctor had slowly drawn his distressed eyes up to mine and gently cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there is no cardiac activity.”
No cardiac activity. Those words still resound almost twenty years later.
My son was dead.
Depressed, gray, numb days would mesh together as I floated through the motions: hunched over in my Army barracks room, staring blankly at the television while stroking my still-pregnant belly filled with my lifeless son. Days later, doctors would induce labor and I gave birth to a gray, unresponsive, beautiful baby boy.
Now it was happening all over again.
I flew home tearfully and blubbered to my husband. As we embraced, the muffled cries escaped. “I cannot go through this again!” I wailed.
I was confined to bed. Sitting, standing, and walking were no longer permitted. Doctor’s orders: I was to lie as motionless as possible so as to increase the chances the placenta – the water-filled bubble that was my baby’s home – would stay attached.
Hours of thought stretched before me. Endless, time-ticking days of emptiness weighed on me like a two-ton rucksack. What do I do? How can I prevent this? Nights were full of restless sleep as I was woken suddenly by deep, throbbing aches reverberating through my shoulders, a result of the constant anxiety.
After six excruciating days of weariness, I finally let go.
Lying like a stiff board on my back, the tears erupted and streamed down my face like a volcano oozing lava. My sobs – so violent at first they echoed off the walls of the empty house – soon turned silent as I gasped for breath.
Regaining my voice, I screamed. “God help me!!”
I recounted the situation through inexhaustible tears. I begged for God’s intervention. I pled with Him to solidify this baby’s rightful position in my womb. I reminded Him that life was His treasure and it was Satan’s will to kill and steal and destroy. I asked Him to prevent this diabolical plan from coming to fruition.
I puffed and panted for a while. Then I wiped my face, blew my nose, and sighed with relief.
Weeks later, I hobbled into the hospital and up the elevator to the ultrasound office. Squinting at the tiny TV screen, I saw her: blurry, lively, and talking.
My daughter. Healthy.
The ultrasound tech smiled brightly. “She’s doing great,” she reassured as she rolled the jelly microphone over my enlarged belly. Her bangle bracelets clinked lightly as she turned the receiver.
Hope surged through me. I strained to look. “What about the placenta?” I asked nervously, biting my lip. “Is it…” I hesitated nervously. “Attached?”
The tech’s eyebrows arched and she shook her head, confused. “I’m sorry?” she asked, looking at me in bewilderment. “The placenta?”
I was perplexed. “Yes,” I replied impatiently. “The placenta. My doctor said it had partially detached from the uterus wall. Is it still detached?”
She returned her attention to the screen and pressed the mic harder into my stomach, moving it slowly while examining the monitor.
Several silent minutes later, she cleared her throat. “I don’t see anything,” she stated matter-of-factly, removing the mic from my stomach and wiping it off. She placed it on the hook next to the screen and handed me a warm towel with which to wipe my belly.
“Your placenta is completely attached to the uterus. There’s no evidence of separation.”
That was nine years ago. Surprisingly, I’ve rarely prayed like that since.
I’ve thought about the miraculous healing of my pregnancy many times since then; however, it hasn’t been repeated. Instead, life has been miracle-less: stale, dry, and without the presence of my Lord.
The cold, hard truth is many Christians, myself included, have lost connection with our Lord, and thus have forfeited bucket loads of power, influence, and persuasion. Yes, we are believers. We know without reservation that Jesus lived, died, and lived again. We are deeply convicted of the essential Truth: Jesus is God.
However, we’ve lost the sweet, spiritual connection with God we once had. We used to prize our relationship with Him; now, it’s all but dissolved, buried beneath the to-do lists and the texts and appointments and bills.
As a result, our power to influence those around us with our commanding testimony has dimmed beneath the worldly curtain. Our appetite swelled for the pleasures of this life: vacations, boats, a promotion, and a new car; all while our hunger for Jesus grew dormant.
Now, we look just like everyone else.
Oh, sure, we know what we need to do. Our pastors may be droning as background noise: Pray. Read the Bible. Listen to God. But that voice is lost in the tantalizing messages that mesmerize – or assault – our senses daily. Sure, the pastor is right. But there will be time to do those things later – first, that shiny RV needs its first down payment.
But what happens when the vacations, boats, promotions, new car, and RVs fail to satisfy? What then?
Will we move on to our next glittery thing? A pool, new deck, maybe a trip to France?
Or, will we step out of the race altogether and discover this isn’t what it’s all about?
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The once-clear path to God and His inexhaustible power now appears to be strewn with mounting obstacles. What was once so simple – connecting with the Lord – seems so impossible today. After all, we’re busy. Distracted. And honestly, we just don’t think God hears us anymore.
And if He does hear, He ignores.
Thankfully, it doesn’t take a Harvard PH.D to figure out how to fix this problem. In the face of increasing barriers to a spiritually abundant, immensely powerful life, some have appeared to figure out the formula. They live in this world, yes, and are subject to the same nagging distractions we are. However, they have an unusually close bond with the Lord, and they’re profoundly influential.
How do they do it?
These people – these super-Saints, it seems – have discovered how to reconnect with the Lord right where they are. They’ve developed their reach a thousand-fold. Not only have they identified the problem; they’ve figured out how to fix it.
And we can, too.
This article is an excerpt of our upcoming book, Powerless: Why Christians Fail to Impact the World, and What We Can Do About It. To receive regular updates, enter your information below.