Sitting at a coffee shop on HeiDa’s campus I met with Sophy for the second time to study the Bible. She’s an ambitious freshman and incredibly smart! She explained to me she wants to be the best and is always outside the library early each morning waiting on it to open. She says her parents expect her to do well. She’s the “smart one” of the family, the “golden child.” Studying and doing well in school is what she does and who she is.
The first time she agreed to study the bible with me, we talked about EVERYTHING! We talked about life. We talked about what people say we should do and be like and people’s expectations! Talking about the meaning of life really hit deep to my new 19 year old, overworked, overstressed friend. She told me that even though she works extremely hard she often comes up short of what she feels she deserves. She then told me that she has contemplated suicide, because for an atheist, if you don’t get what you want in this life, there is nothing else! There is no after life, there are no consequences, there is no greater hope. I told her I could understand her thinking, that if in deed there was nothing else to live for, then suicide would be a reasonable answer to end the pain and suffering, If there is no answer to why we do the things we do, then what does it actually matter what we do?! I knew my friend needed to hear about our Savior and the true meaning of life.
Just last semester, the head of her school’s philosophy department jumped off a building on campus. Every year since we’ve been here, someone has successfully committed suicide by jumping off a school building. Early one morning, when I was walking my dog, I saw a 17yr. boy laying dead on the pavement with his skull cracked. He was still wearing his pajamas and his pillow was next to him. I looked up and saw that he had just jumped from the 4th floor. I learned later on that day, the test scores to get into college had come out and students ending their lives over something like this was a common thing.
Sophy had already been disillusioned with the promise that hard work always brings success and happiness. I shared the gospel with her at both meetings and she was quick to understand the truth about the world and sin and the AMAZING GRACE of God. She has been an idol to her parents, a burden that no child can bare. She has been a slave to her school work, which can be an evil task master. She has been left working to death, confused as to what she is actually working for. I told her, that everyone is trying to save themselves some how. They are trying to redeem themselves and find some sort of intrinsic value and there is no way to achieve that satisfaction and real purpose and joy with out God. The world without God makes no sense, but with this added perspective of the gospel, everything makes sense. At the end of our second bible study, I asked her if she had any questions and told her I would love to continue to study with her a couple times a week. she sat back in her chair and voiced how important she thinks the Bible and knowing Jesus really is. Then she took note of how many people I study the bible with every week and said, “wow, so you talk about the Gospel everyday?!” I never really thought about it, but hearing her say that was such an encouragement to me. God has granted me opportunities to share the gospel with people every day and even through all my different health problems and being tired, I know that the message I have to bring “holds the power to real salvation.” I am so thankful for a Savior. I am so thankful for the joy in my life that is rooted in something that never ceases to satisfy and never leaves me wanting.
Please continue to pray for Sophy, one of our interns met with her a few days ago for another Bible study. The work of the Holy Spirit is evident in her life right now. I pray that she continues seeking in the knowledge of who Jesus is and what the Gospel means and that one day I will be able to call her not only a friend but a sister.
For my sisters in Christ:
1) Is there something in your life that takes the place of your actual Savior? Is it your worth as a mother or as a missionary or as a _______? You name it! Do a heart check and see if there is anything that you have placed as your functional savior instead of Jesus Christ himself.
2)Are you sharing the gospel? Seems pretty basic and foundational to our lives as Christians, but I find myself as a mother and missionary being busy about merely surviving in this world, that I often times forget to be busy about the greatest work our Lord has commissioned us with. Pray daily for the Holy Spirit to compel you into bold gospel proclamation, for although, all the work that we accomplish is part of His redemptive plan, the gospel is the perfect plan which holds the power to God’s ultimate redemption of humanity.