Early in September, I received a rather urgent call from a student. Michael called me and asked if I could meet with him the next day. There was a desperation in his voice that wasn’t characteristic of the Michael I knew.
We got together for coffee on campus and just the look of him I could tell things weren’t well—at all. Sometimes in life, difficult things hit, as if out of nowhere. Other times, they hit in catastrophic proportions, an avalanche of challenges mount up and leave you crushed under the weight.
Michael was feeling crushed.
Michael had surgery earlier that year and was now unable to play on his varsity team—which for an elite-level athlete is emotionally devastating enough. On top of this, he had done poorly academically and was in a horrible position with the university because of his grades. Not getting back into school again because his grades was a distinct reality. Moreover, his relationship, of over 3 years, with his girlfriend had ended. Stress, depression and confusion were mounting and he didn’t know where or who to turn to.
Looking for light—even a pinhole
Over the next couple of weeks, we met regularly to help him make a plan to move forward. When you’re feeling deep in a pit of darkness, sometimes taking one step forward is about as much as you can manage. Michael was willing to start to make small changes. Little steps forward and hopefully a stream of light would beam through, even if it was a tiny one.
During one of these meetings, I asked him if there was anything he wanted to aim at—as goals—to help him move forward. The first thing he said was “his spirituality.” He wanted to take God more seriously and begin reading the Bible.
I was so happy to hear this since Michael had been coming to a Bible study designed for people who were exploring Christianity, that I have been leading for the past few years. I knew that he was learning more about Jesus, but I wasn’t totally sure where he was at with it all. It seems as though in his darkest moments he sensed the closeness of Jesus.
Since then we have begun studying the Bible together every week. He has put his trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of his sin. We finished Galatians together and are now working through Mark.
It seems as though in his darkest moments he sensed the closeness of Jesus.
Many mornings, as we study the Bible, we are blown away by the teaching and character of Christ. We have experienced some of the most genuine moments of seeing exactly how Jesus is the answer to the human malady of sin. We are inspiring and encouraging each other to live a life committed to following Christ.
Please pray for Michael, that God would protect his new, growing faith. Also, that Michael would increasingly make Jesus his top life priority.