Apologetics is somewhat of a lonely endeavor. It is possible for a person to give a great deal of effort to apologetic work, to defending God’s word, to answering questions, to reasoning with people and have it all seem as though it was worthless. Discouragement is a reality to the apologist. There are certainly victories, by God’s grace; but there are many encounters that could simply be classified as "unprofitable."
To help you keep your eyes on the real issue of apologetics, I offer the following illustration. The idea is to get you to understand what your job is as an apologist--as someone who answers questions and objections and points people to Jesus. I believe that if you understand where you are and what your ‘job’ is, then you won’t be as overcome with discouragement as you might otherwise be.
Apologetics is like . . .
Apologetics is like a field. In the center of the field is a garden. This garden has one door, and that door is Jesus. There is one path that leads to that door. Inside the garden is eternal life in the presence of God. Outside the field, however, are rocks, boulders, thorns, thistles, valleys, hills, and many false paths that lead nowhere.
The apologist resides in the field and points people to the true path, so they can find the Garden. The apologist seeks to remove the intellectual thorns and emotional rocks that prevent people from finding the true path to God. Also, there are many people who are walking false paths (cults, philosophies, etc.,) who will never reach that Garden. The apologist gently guides the person, removes the obstacles, and points in the direction of the Garden. When people arrive there, it is between them and God as to whether or not they enter.
Picture yourself as a laborer in the field. It isn’t your job to save anyone. It is your job to point the way. You aren’t the only one in the field. Getting them to the Garden is not your job. They get there. You simply help them.