It’s been almost 3 months since I’ve been down here in Branson. That’s 3 months that have felt extremely short, but yet have felt like an eternity. That’s 3 months that I haven’t been in Lawrence, Kansas. Therefore, 3 months that I have been surrounded by believers 90% of the time, verses the exact opposite of the environment I was around last year.
Anyone that knows me knows how much I love my Jayhawks (love might just be an understatement). But it’s safe to say that I didn’t always love being at KU because of the environment. KU is a university that has more accumulated members in atheist clubs, than in Christian Ministries, so needless to say, KU is a little different than this setting. It wasn’t until coming here though, that I realized how thankful I am for that place and the time that I had there. I was able to develop relationships with people that did not know the Lord and the gift of his Son, some that I have been so blessed to maintain. However, I realized this past week that I had been friends with these individuals for some time, but had yet to really explain to them anything about what I believe. I had been blessed to have conversations with some of them, but I had a deep fear about sharing my relationship with Christ with them. Yet, the irony in this is that I was unashamed to stand up for the Lord in a large classroom setting, but when it came down to friends, I have been terrified. I was always scared that they wouldn’t want to be a friend to me anymore, that I would freak them out, or that they would think that I was just another one of those “crazy Christians”. It wasn’t until this past week when we discussed evangelism and sharing our faith with others, that I became convicted of this fear.
The fear of sharing my faith with some of my friends back home became unreasonable to me when I realized that if I truly said that I loved these people, then I should love them enough to care for their eternal state. Just dwelling on that thought, was convicting enough. Knowing that we had an assignment to go out and evangelize was wonderful, but I thought that going out into the community was important, but not nearly as imperative as one relationship I have with a friend back home.
There is a wonderful friend that I have had since my freshman year of college. I won’t go into the details of our friendship, other than we differ big time in regards to religion and spirituality. But, she has been one of my best friends in college because of her loyalty to the people that she loves, and so many other Christ-like qualities in her (but yet she is unaware of the fact that they are Christ-like). I couldn’t think of a better person to call, especially since she had called me the previous week and I had yet to call her back and simply catch up. I’ll be completely honest; I was absolutely terrified before I called her. Oh, but the fear that left me when I finally felt the overwhelming peace of the Spirit.
The beginning of our conversation was the same as they’ve always been: goofy, quick little life updates, and just remembering certain things that we did together at KU. But the conversation took a surprising turn, that can only be explained by the Spirit; she paused and said “Em, I need to be honest with you about something” (safe to say that my heart was pounding so loud I am pretty sure she heard it through the phone) “Emily, something is different this year. I feel like something has been missing not having you and Susie (yeah, girls name isn’t Susie, changed that for all parties to maintain anonymity) around this year. There’s something different, I don’t know what it is. So thanks, not sure what I’m thanking you for, but thanks”. I knew exactly what she was missing: the Spirit of the Lord. “Susie” and I were the only 2 believers she had ever been around in college. I can’t explain it, but I immediately started crying on the phone. One, I was so humbled to know that the Lord did His work through me and “Susie” and we didn’t even know it. Two, my friend noticed that something was missing, and three, the Lord was providing me with such a sweet opportunity to tell her what she was missing, and that is exactly what I did.
I was honest and told her that what she was missing has everything to do with the fact that “Susie” and I pursue Christ. This then led into a series of other talks, even going as far as sexual purity within relationships and what that is supposed to look like. We didn’t go into the depth that I would have liked to (selfish want of course), but the richness that came from this Spirit guided conversation absolutely rocked the rest of my day. For the first time in 4 years, she asked questions and I simply told her my heart behind what I believe and why. I couldn’t help but wonder why I hadn’t shared these things with her before! All that I know is that Lord’s timing is perfect, and that I am an impatient, prideful, and fearful woman. Do I think that she is a Christian after our conversation? Absolutely not. But I do know that I hope to continue to have conversations with her, and pray that I can rid myself of fear, and to recognize that if I claim to love her, I should desire to share this with her so much, because I want to have her with me in eternity. I believe that this is the key to evangelism, the spark must be love, loving God’s children so much that we desire for them to all know Him as He knows all of us.
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1John 5:13