One of the things we did today was meet with some college students. It’s an opportunity for them to ask questions about life, Christianity and God in a non-threatening environment. Sometimes it can be tough because of the language barrier. It’s hard for the students to accurately express themselves, and it can be hard for us Americans to express ourselves in a way that is understood.
One of the questions today was, “Can you explain the virgin birth?” Now, I know immediately that I’m going to be the one answering that question. So, I try and stall as I mentally figure out how I’m going to answer it, answer it succinctly, answer it in a way that is understood by someone who can barely speak English, and explain it clearly to someone who doesn’t have a grasp of the Bible.
I wish someone would have taped it because I think the comedy of it would be enjoyable for all of you. How do I know this? One guy on the team, Joe Hearn, started laughing out-loud at the situation about two-thirds of the way through my explanation.
I actually think I did an admirable job considering everything, and afterwards I was told by our translator that it was good of me to reason with the person who asked the question. (I based my response off of Luke 1, Genesis 3 and a few other passages.) In the midst of answering, though, I’m trying to gauge facial reactions of the students as to whether or not I’m making any sense. The students seemed to be listening intently, and a few of them were nodded in agreement. (Perhaps they were amusing me.) I don’t blame Joe for laughing because I wasn’t sure I was making any sense at one point. I am trying to use words that will be easily understood, speaking slowly and deliberately, while explaining the miracle of the virgin birth.
Joe later told me he was laughing because he was lost at what I was saying, that I taught him about four new points related to the virgin birth. Of course, he knew if he was learning stuff and was lost, then what must these students be thinking. Granted, I’m dealing with grad students, some of whom are pursuing doctorates. I just can’t say, “Well, the Bible says its true so it must be.” I had to provide a foundation before I could answer the question.
How do you answer that question in those circumstances? Answering the questions about prayer or suffering seem easy by comparison.
Did the answer make sense to her? Maybe or maybe not, but she knows she was heard and that she received a thorough response to her question.
What other questions await me? Who knows. Bring it on.