Between my first and second time sharing the gospel, I experienced a few adverse events. First in my thought life, then in my finances, followed by my health. My thought life, resembled this:
“You have made a fool of yourself in front of all those people. Is that the impression you want to make in your new city? Everyone will think you’re crazy. The tracts and the conversations will have no effect on anyone. Stop before you damage your reputation as a reasonable person!”
and like this:
“Are you sure that you are a Christian? You thought you were before, but look what happened. You fell away, and you might fall away again. And if you lost your salvation the first time, how can you be sure of it this time? You might be witnessing to save souls, but yours may be damned.”
I decided to hold these thoughts captive, and to the light of scripture to end those deceptive thoughts. I did a word study on the word “Gospel” where I was able to steady myself in the truth of the importance of declaring it. But this was soon followed by a financial hurdle as the power cord of the laptop that I was using to research and prepare evangelism notes suddenly stopped working. I had to sheepishly ask my fiance for funds to fix it, despite our tight budget. This request rekindled my shame and his frustration over our finances, and my struggle finding work.
That evening, and as things were still tense between us, I developed a very painful infection in my wisdom tooth which spread to my jaw. It hurt to open my mouth in the slightest, and kept me up for several nights. I was concerned that I would not be able to speak properly for the remainder of the week, therefore not able to evangelise. At this point I was weighed down by the remnants of the discouraging thoughts I had previously, the shame of my financial situation, the anxiety over my relationship, and the perpetual pain in my face. And since my mind was focused all week on evangelising, every adverse instance was discouraging.
I cried out to God to give me the strength and perseverance to stay on track, and keep focused on my evangelistic preparations. And by His grace I recovered emotionally, relationally, and bodily before I went out on the streets to witness again.