Monday, October 28, 2013

Remembering a friend and Salvation

I'll never forget the day in 7th grade, at summer camp, that I got mad at something and was rather upset. I don't exactly remember what it was but I am sure it was something trivial. You know like someone took the seat next to the cute girl I wanted to sit by or maybe I didnt get a piece of candy during the candy rave explosion...who knows. The point is that I was upset the entire nightly session. As the session progress the speaker, David Nasser of all people, was proselytizing the word of God as a young youth evangelist. I loved his anecdotes and his ability to relate to me as a student. His influence that week poured over into my life, albeit sub consciously. I say that because at the time I was 12 and not to adamant about reaching students for least I thought. At the end of the session David was encouraging those who heard the spirit urging them to go and join a counselor to pray that Jesus would be their savior. I was already a believer, and although I was young and naive, even blindly passionate about God, I understood the salvation story to the best that my 12 year old brain could decipher. I was sitting next to a guy that I was friends with, but not best friends, and I could tell he was leaning towards the spirits urging. He was nervous and the look on his face was of confusion because he did not know what to do and was worried others would laugh at him if he chose to go to the counselors. After all, as a 12 year old it wasn't very cool to ever place yourself in the spotlight, especially when you were new to the Youth group and the 9th graders were swirly happy. You know, they all chase you, catch and carry you off to the bathroom head first into the toilet for a nice dunk in the ever clean camp toilets. Although I didn't get mine til later in my 7th grade year after MYF, it was still on my mind as well as his. Any attention would possibly lead to the dreaded swishing of the toilet water on your head....but that's another story for another day. That day I recognized that my new friend was in need and through my anger from the seat displacement, I told him that he needed to go and that God wanted Him to follow him. He went. That day in 1992 my friend Michael accepted Christ as his savior. It was glorious in the story of God's kingdom and I never really thought about the significance for years down the road. As I grew in my faith, I realized that he was the first person God allowed me to reach for the kingdom. This friend and I lost touch and we both went through many trials and our lives were somewhat similar in the way we struggled. We both were depressed, really depressed. We both fought through it by coping, even at times using sin to fill the depressive void that was in our lives. My friend died in this state, a valuable friendship to many that was gone. I was really upset about it even though I had not seen him in many years. I knew his struggles and had been there myself. But every time I see his dimpled smile in a photograph, God tells me that he is happy and in the most loving place of all celebrating with Jesus in freedom. I wish I could have helped him find freedom on earth, and it breaks my heart I didn't get to, but I know that he is free now. Free from all that holds us down and being held by Jesus in Heaven. I am always saddened by thoughts of him, but God brings a smile to my face as he reminds me that Michael is His. God used me that day to bring him into the kingdom and although I am saddened by his passing, it brings joy to know that God used me to bring him to Himself. One day, I will see him again and that day will be amazing, as he always thanked me in private over the years, but that day I will thank him for heeding God's urgings so we can always reminisce of God's gory on that summer day in PCB.