“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
My niece Victoria asked me an interesting question one day. She said, “Why are you always so happy?” The tone in which she asked the question indicated that she was annoyed by my happiness. She acted like I was annoying her by my joyful attitude. I immediately thought of this verse. “Be prepared to give an answer”. I was prepared to give an answer. I told her that I loved Jesus and he loved me. That makes me happy.
It was simple and straightforward. I answered her with gentleness and respect, but I wasn’t sure that she understood. I was content at that time that I had planted a seed. I obeyed God. Now I would wait and see how He worked in her life.
My niece obviously didn’t get it because she asked me the same question about 20 times over the next few days. I kept answering, but I was starting to get annoyed answering the same question repeatedly. I thought about the verse again and reminded myself that it said to always be prepared. Always! That is a tough word. To always be prepared when a five year old asks the same question a million times (I’m exaggerating a little) is not an easy task.
I really didn’t think I was getting through. And then, God worked in a powerful and dramatic way. I encountered a tough situation that my niece witnessed. When I started to cry, Victoria asked why I was crying. I told her that “I wanted _______ to treat me in a different way that made me feel special and loved. But the way he was treating me made me feel sad.”
She reached up and wiped away my tears with her finger and said, “Don’t cry”. She ran and got a tissue and told me to blow my nose. Then she said “Be happy, Aunt Sheri. Jesus loves you and you love him. You can be happy.” How right she was.
God had reminded me how important it is to remain faithful to His word, even when His word says always. God understands what He is asking when He says always. He is always faithful. He brought encouragement and peace to my heart through a small little girl. He let me know that my obedience to him mattered and touched someone’s heart and mind. My niece is hearing the truth even if I have to repeat the truth always. Just as God is patient and repeats the truth for me so that I can learn it, I will continue to be patient and repeat the truth for Victoria and others around me.
I will always be prepared. Jesus loves me and I love him. That will always be the answer for the hope that is in me.