As a missionary, we write monthly updates to tell our supporters what God is doing in students lives. And though we tell the story just as it is, it just seems different on paper. Somehow on paper it just seems more shocking whereas in real life it seemed so normal.
Like a student years back named Cyndi. We were going around the dorm offering to take out students trash and we came to her door. She asked us why we were doing this and we said "because Jesus took the trash out of our hearts and we want to be an example of what He can do." She invited us in saying she couldn't believe we were there and wanted to hear about Jesus. Turned out she had gotten so drunk the night before she was taken to detox where she was pronounced dead from alcohol poisoning. After awhile they got her heart started again and she had just got out of the hospital not long before we came knocking on her door, eager to hear the gospel. She gave her life to Christ that day in her dorm room. Isn't our Life Giving God amazing!
Reading through Scripture, it is easy to read in the state of wow, just like Cyndi's story. But as you put yourself in the story, it becomes more real. Let's do that for Acts 17 so when we meet Damarius, we will understand her story a bit more clearly.
Read Acts 17
Here's a recap. Paul, Silas and Timothy go to Thessalonica. They go into the synagogue like they normally do when they go to a new city and start teaching about Jesus using Scripture. They were there for 3 weeks and lots of people turn to Christ (each with amazing stories like Cyndi's I bet. Wont that be fun to hear their stories in heaven!) But some people got jealous and started talking bad and getting people together and started a riot.
Ok, seriously, if you were Paul, Silas and Timothy, what would you be feeling at this point?
What if you were the brand new believer?
Well the believers go to Paul and Silas when it gets dark and send them away (Would you be one of those people?) and they arrive in Berea. These people are awesome. They "received the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Oh I like them! But then the Jews heard about what was going on and started "agitating the crowds and stirring them up." So again the believers sent Paul away.
So as Paul has just been sent away by believers for speaking truth about Jesus he is waiting for his buddies in Athens and sees that the city is full of idols. So get this, he is so distressed that he can't help but share the gospel there too! Is that not awesome!? When was the last time you were in such distress about the things people were putting their hope in that weren't Jesus that you just had to share the gospel? (Right after being thrown out of cities for sharing it) Paul starts sharing and some guys heard about it and intrigued want to hear more so they invite him to a special meeting. Paul shares the gospel there (in a super wise way) and cool things happened as God changes lives and hearts in Athens. As Paul shared the gospel in this meeting, there were three responses. Those who rejected, those who procrastinated and those who believed, among them was "a woman named Damaris."
This truly is an awesome woman. First of all, people thought so highly of her that she was at this meeting. But not only that, she was able to turn to Jesus at this meeting while others "sneered". Though she was well known and it could have been easy to cave under the pressure of wanting people to like her, she choose Jesus instead. I would love to know the rest of her story, but I guess I'll just have to wait till heaven and ask her to share it.