In my last year of college, a combination of circumstances—friends graduating, a shrinking campus ministry, increased involvement in other communities—resulted in my shifting from having mostly Christian friends to a place where I was spending almost all my time with nonbelievers.
On one hand, the change was wonderful! I’d been praying for years for more opportunities to build relationships with nonbelievers that would allow me to share the gospel through friendship, and there’s no doubt that this was an answer to that prayer. But on the other hand, I didn’t stop to think about how this might affect me spiritually. I started to let myself drift from spiritual disciplines and seeking biblical fellowship in order to pursue these new relationships. I assumed I was strong enough to handle it. I assumed I’d be fine.
Surprise! I assumed wrong. More quickly than you might expect, I began to feel strangely distant from God, like a great fog had hidden His face from me—not that I doubted it was there and turned toward me, but it was like struggling to wake from a deep sleep. I would have moments of clarity (often on Sundays at church) and then slip right back into that hazy dream where God’s voice was muffled and unfamiliar, and I would forget what it was like to be awake.
I spent months in that haze, most days living as if Christ had no claim over my time or affections. I didn’t mean to stop living for Him, and on the outside, it probably didn’t look much like I had: I was still a “good kid” by most standards, but I’d forgotten about my Savior. It was as easy as letting schoolwork and friends and all their priorities take the top spot in my heart. And there wasn’t anyone around me to sound the alarm.
Praise the Lord that He leaves the ninety-nine to come after the one! Eventually, a friend from church helped me realize what was going on, and another friend started holding me accountable for reading the Bible every day, both of which started to clear up the fog. Then sometime in the spring, I was talking to the Baptist campus minister at Drexel and brought up this struggle.
“I know exactly what you’re talking about,” he said. “You can’t rely on getting randomly fed anymore. You have to just go and eat.”
There are two things I learned from that little piece of truth. First: I’d been starving myself spiritually, but everything I need to sustain me is always available; I just have to be diligent in going to get it, like the Israelites gathering manna every morning. Second: the body of believers around me, which I’ve so often taken for granted, is a huge part of what nourishes and strengthens my soul. It’s no mistake that multiple Christian friends were instrumental in bringing me out of my spiritual haze. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says in the NIV that “though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves,” and “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” How much stronger a whole community of believers!
Maybe you know someone in a situation like I was—consider reaching out in some way to strengthen that person. Maybe you have those people who keep you strong—that’s a great opportunity to thank God for what He’s provided, and then continue to share life together.
Sisters, let’s be a community that cares for one another’s souls. Let’s diligently point each other to Christ, and let’s make sure every one of us is coming to the table to eat.