I had one of those moments when God very clearly showed me that he is the one who prepares our good works in advance (Ephesians 2:10).
I was sitting in Bible study feeling very grumpy, and like I didn't want to be there. I'd had the token greeting with the people beside me, and then sat uncomfortably in silence. The conversation went on around me, but it was too fast and I had no hope of understanding, let alone joining in.
But as the group went on, I remembered that at times I'd had similar feelings about my Spanish Bible study group in Melbourne. And that was one of the most valuable groups I've been part of. So I worked hard at humbling my attitude, and prayed that I'd be patient, and kept listening out for the occasional word that I understand.
At the end of the group I helped to serve dinner, then sat with a lady away from the rest of the group. She is the mother of the host and I'd spoken with her once before. In an attempt to make conversation, I asked her (in English) what she thought of the course that we had just finished. She was full of admiration for all that she'd been hearing about and the transformation of her son since he'd become a Christian. Then she said, "But I am a catholic. I am too old to change". I desperately wanted her to know Jesus, and I wanted to respectful to this kind, older lady. So as the conversation went on, I shared with her a conversation that I'd had with Miriam a few days earlier.
"Mummy do good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell?"
I replied, "Do you think you're good or bad?"
"I don't know."
"Do you think you're good enough for God?"
"Is there anyone who's good enough for God"
"That's right. That's why when Jesus died, his death was good enough to pay for my punishment."
"So how does anyone go to heaven?, I asked Miriam.
"By trusting Jesus", says Miriam with a smile. "So does that mean that if a bad person trusts Jesus they can go to heaven?"
"That's exactly right!" "What about if a good person doesn't trust Jesus?" I asked her.
"They go to hell."
"Yep", was all I needed to say.
I think it's easier to say hard things clearly out of the mouth of a 5 year old.
But the lesson that I learnt (again) is how much God prepares our good works for us. I was feeling like it was a complete waste of time being in the group. But God has his plans, and I just need to be patient to see how he will use me.