Have you ever had something happen and then wonder if it was real?
That’s what today felt like for me.
My day was relatively slow; I only have one class on Thursdays and it’s at two in the afternoon. After my only class I ate dinner, did some homework, read some books, so on and so forth. The Christian thing that Carly had told me about was tonight. Well come 7:30PM I looked out my window and saw that the sky was in a daunting state of torrential down pour complete with thunder and lightning. Needless to say, staying indoors and not actually going to the thing seemed more and more appealing. 7:45 came around and the rain hadn’t let up. I went to Carly’s room and asked if she was still going.
“Yeah, I mean, I’m from Flahridah (pronunciation accurate) so it’s no big deal.” She said. That meant my decision had been made for me.
I zipped up my jacket, grabbed my French-painting parasol, and headed out of my dorm. Flashes of lightning and rolls of thunder beset me as I made my way to the Pratt chapel.
I’m sure this is going to be some Jewish thing that I’m just going to have to skip out on. Why on earth am I doing this again?
I pushed the thought out of my head as I stepped into the chapel, being greeted by singing and guitar playing. Shaking out my parasol and being accompanied by Carly (who stepped into the building after me), I stepped into the narrow room that housed six students singing. They were singing in Korean, and I suddenly wondered if I was in the right room. But then I recognized the tune as being “Every Move I Make.” I knew the song in English, and I was not about to let social and ethnic awkwardness get in the way of hanging out with other Christians. So I stepped into the group and started singing the English version of their song.
During the song, a young woman (she was a student, but she looked older) walked in and asked me for my phone number because she was just so excited that she’d seen other people who were Christians; she had been looking to join some kind of Christian group forever but there just hadn’t been one. I gave her my number and she left with a huge smile on her face; I was absolutely bewildered.
After singing two more songs, we all introduced ourselves to each other. Then we talked about things we were struggling with; a lot of the people there were struggling with finding time in their busy schedules to spend time with God; others were struggling with finding a group of Christians or a Bible Study in which to participate, and others were struggling with trying to stay close to God and keeping from straying away from Him. One guy in the group came right out and said that he was a weak Christian and wanted to be stronger. I was still sitting there in disbelief that there were six more Christians on campus.
At that moment, two people walked in and joined the group. Then, after sharing prayer requests, two more people walked in. By this time, Carly and I look at each other, both of us obviously wondering where all of these people have been and if the two of us are the only people in the room who aren’t Korean. We ask if everyone in the group is Korean. They all answer yes and then start laughing because of our facial expressions. We all thought it was funny though. 😀
We prayed, first for the person to our left, then for the person to our right. We talked about God and how amazing He is; we talked about how there’s a Chris Tomlin concert in NYC taking place in October. Tim (this is his American name) then opened up a devotional book which had both English and Korean translations of the message. He looked around, looked at the book, then looked at me.
“Would you read this for me?” He asked with an embarrassed smile. I smiled back and took the book from him.
The message of the devotional was all about times of confusion, times when it will seem to us that God isn’t who He says He is, that nothing makes sense, that life is always going to be one big ball of frustration. It was about how, despite our frustration and confusion, God is who He says He is. God is in control of our circumstances. God knows exactly how frustrated and confused we are…and He’s there with us.
After my reading the message, it was time to close in prayer. Tim asked me to pray for the group, and it was the first time I had ever felt honored to be asked to pray for someone. I felt this great excitement, peace, and love for all the people around me. I tried not to cry while praying.
As I talked to God, I told Him how much I couldn’t believe how many people there were in our small group. I told Him about how I was amazed that there were more than four Christians on campus. I thanked God for Pratt, because without all of us having come to Pratt, we would have denied God an opportunity to grow us in Him (not that we can really ever deny God anything). I talked to Him about how, in a place where it’s so easy to lose faith and to just go the wrong way, we need the strength that only He can give. As I prayed, thunder rolled in reply to my words, as if God were answering me.
I ended my prayer and we all stood about talking, mingling. Then someone turned off the lights and I obnoxiously yelled, “OH NO!!!” and then Tim said, “It’s okay; just remember you have the light of the world!” At that point I began to wonder if I was dreaming.
A bunch of girls in the group asked me for my number because they had heard me mention the Bible Study that I hold in my dorm. They all thanked me for telling them and that they’d be there.
On my way back to my dorm, as it rained and the sky carried, all I could think about was a wave of Christians taking over the campus. I tried not to get ahead of myself though.
As I sit here writing, I am really wondering if all of it really happened. How in the world could God possibly answer my prayers for awareness of other Christians so effectively and fully and amazingly? How could this really happen just because I prayed for it? I can’t accurately describe how I’m feeling right now. I guess, “in awe,” “speechless,” maybe even, “dumbfounded” would be somewhat appropriate, but I don’t feel like any of these do the description of my state of mind any justice.
It’s almost too good to be true. But that’s how the gospel is, isn’t it? The gospel is something that’s just too good to be true. How could God possibly love us puny humans so much as to die for our sins so that we could spend eternity with Him? Why would God ever want a relationship with each of us? Why would He care?
….oh but He does care….and that’s why the gospel, why a relationship with God, is just so sweet.
“The prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective.” -James 5:16