Two eleven-year-old kids on the baseball team are sitting in the dugout while their team is up to bat. Charlie, the first shortstop, turns to William, the catcher.
“Does your school say anything about your purple hair?” curious about William’s hair which was purple that day—and green previously.
“My school doesn’t care, my teachers don’t say anything.” William answered, “I just like to color my hair.” “Do you go to a school with uniforms?”
“Yeah, Bishop Eustace Catholic,” responded Charlie, “they would NOT let me color my hair or wear it long. My school is strict,” Charlie lamented.
Then William turned this innocent discussion into a more serious one.
“Hey, doesn’t your Catholic school have religion classes?”
“Every day,” said Charlie with a sigh, not sure where this question was going.
“I just wonder about religious things sometimes,” said William with a pensive look on his face.
“Like what?” Charlie pressed, curious to help.
“You wouldn’t understand, you probably go to church all the time and that stuff,” said William.
“Yeah we go to Our Lady Star of the Sea,” Charlie answered, “Do you go?”
“No, we don’t go. I guess that makes me an atheist…” William struggled to find the words.
“Not necessarily. What do you wonder about?” asked Charlie.
Then William dialed it in. “I wonder if there is a God, and if there is, why does he let bad things happen.”
No this completely caught Charlie off guard, he doesn’t typically hear these questions. He is surrounded by kids in church and school who, this young age, all believe in God.
Charlie thought for a moment. “Well, I believe there is a God and He gave us life, both of us.”
William questioned again, “Then why does He let bad things happen?”
This is the take-off point. The point from which there is no return. Many people over the millennia have pondered this one, saints and sinners alike.
“God is everywhere, he has a personality just like us and he doesn’t want bad things to happen, he loves us. But he also let’s things happen…”
Just then the coach yelled, “Charlie, you’re on deck, let’s go.”
And that is where the conversion ended.
Charlie was up to bat and the game went on. There was no opportunity to return to that moment. No chance to go back to that exact place on the bench in the dusty dugout to engage in a discussion that could change someone’s life. No chance to find the perfect words to help someone’s curiosity and ultimately share Christ.
Moments like these are sometimes called “God-winks” where a life in Christ can be used as an instrument to allow God’s grace to flow to another. A chance to show someone who doesn’t recognize their hidden candle and to light it like a torch in the night to lead the way out of their cave of darkness. This torch has freed many slaves out of the bondage of sin and broken the chains holding them back from a belief in God. This torch can help someone find wings they didn’t know they had to fly like an eagle between heaven and earth.
These moments could be a soft cloth to wipe away tears of sorrow and allow someone else to see the Prince of Peace to carry them through difficult times.
But these moments can also be lost.
We must always be ready.
That night, Charlie was going to bed and he was reviewing his day. He thought of his conversation with William and what he said and what he could have said if he had more time… so Charlie prayed that God will reveal himself to William.
“Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence…” (1 Peter 3:15).