Two people sitting at a high-top table facing away from each other

How to find joy when conversations go sideways

I truly desire to have meaningful conversations about faith with others, especially at times like Christmas and Easter, when spiritual conversations are easier to bring up. Before I try to have a meaningful conversation, I find myself engaging in a personal routine that begins with prayer for the person, inviting others to pray with me, and finding the courage to initiate a conversation. After this routine, my hopes are high, so when that person rejects the gospel or my invitation for discussion, the last thing I feel is joy or peace.

I imagine I am not the only person in this situation. Like me, you might have experienced disappointment with unmet expectations or the feeling that your effort was a waste. Perhaps you haven’t experienced that disappointment yet, but what if you do?

When you’ve prayed and had a conversation with a loved one or someone you have compassion for, you have taken steps to care for them. Therefore, it’s understandable to feel sad when you discover they don’t share in your joy for the Savior. 

In these moments, what helps me is remembering Jesus is the Savior, not me. Jesus is alive and seated on his heavenly throne, and Jesus loves this person more than you possibly could. When you pray for others and start conversations with them about Jesus and faith in him, you are being faithful to God. Isaiah 52:7 (New International Version) says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” It’s your job to speak the good news; it’s God’s job to change hearts.

Even when others reject Jesus in conversations, it is up to God to work in their lives. God might use you to have more spiritual conversations in the future, to study the Bible with that person, if they’re willing, or to simply pray for them. But only God can transform the person’s spirit, and no one is better equipped to perform such work than Him. While God is working, you can continue as his ambassador with friendship, kindness and displays of Jesus’ love

Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross is the most powerful demonstration of love, and it means God cares even more than you do. So when spiritual conversations don’t go as you hoped and you feel disappointment, rejoice because although they rejected him, God is still able to work in the person’s life. Therefore, rejoice, be at peace, and don’t stop praying and loving because God is working.