When you ask someone that question, the answer is almost always “fine.”
But in many cases the person is not fine. If you were to dig a little deeper, you’d find that life isn’t what they dreamed it would be–they long for something more.
Instead of hearing their “fine” and moving on, what if we took a couple of minutes and really connected with the person? “How is it really going? Is this what you really wanted?” If we are willing to ask the question a second time and hear their problems and stories, people will open up. And we may be able to help them find new life through Jesus Christ.
One year at Thanksgiving, as our church sent out volunteers with groceries for needy families, one of our pastors asked me to take a turkey and other food to a man who had fallen on hard times.
This man had been an executive for a Fortune 500 company but had been laid off a couple of years earier. He had lost virtually everything; now he and his family were living in a very small house and were in need of food.
When I arrived, he helped me carry the food into the house. “You minister to a lot of poor people, don’t you?” he asked, trying to distance himself from his own situation.
“It’s actually for everybody, because everybody counts,” I replied.
“I’m really getting it together, and I’m going to be bouncing back,” he said.
“OK,” I said. “But really–how are you feeling about all this?”
“Well, I’m just having trouble finding a job,” he said.
It started to come out. He said his pastor had told him that God was punishing him; that’s why he had lost all his money.
I told him I disagreed. “Whatever God is doing,” I said, “He is helping you. So tell me: What good has happened to you?”
“Well, what has happened?”
It turned out that in their old, rich neighborhood, his son had been struggling terribly. He had a learning disability, and the school asked him to leave. He had to be home-schooled, and all the neighborhood kids knew he had been pushed out, so they shunned him. With no friends–afraid even to go outside–he was regressing fast.
Eventually the man’s wife had to get a job and could no longer home-school their son, so they asked if the school in the new neighborhood would take him. The school welcomed him with open arms. Not only that, but now the son was flourishing academically, socially and emotionally.
“Who did that?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” he said.
“Isn’t there a chance that God brought your son to this place so he could have friends–so he could grow?”
The man saw that God had given the family a miracle for his son. “I wish I knew the God that you know,” he said.
“He already knows all about you and He loves you,” I said. Right then and there, the man gave his heart to Christ.
He just needed to see that God was already working in his life, calling him to a relationship with Christ. All it took was digging a little deeper.