Charles was a CalPoly student that I never met, only heard about. I heard that he was reported missing, and then found dead. I heard that he hung himself.
I assure you, there is much more pain in those above sentences than what is probably being portrayed right now.
As soon as my roomies and I got the news, we were shocked. Shocked and depressed. For me, it was a wake up call. There is a war going on, and people's lives and souls are at stake here. In a sense, I almost felt a burden of responsibility. I didn't know him, but if God had brought him into my life and asked me to love on him, would I have been willing to go out of my way and talk to a random person that God laid on my heart? I don't know. And that's enough to be majorly convicting.
I just can't stop picturing God pleading with Charles, the entire bike ride to Madonna, to stop. Please, don't go any further. Okay this is far enough. Go back. Stop. Please, stop! Don't do this. Charles, stop right there. I love you, don't do this. His agony is crushing to me. And then I picture the horror of the four students who found his body. And then I can't think anymore.
What would have happened if someone had seen Charles riding off campus and stopped him with a friendly greeting, and asked him how he was doing. And what if this person wasn't content to just hear "stressed, because I have this project to present." But what if this person really pursued Charles and really cared about and wanted to hear how he was really doing. I think that would have made all the difference.
Father, turn this tragedy into an opportunity. May hearts be changed.
That is the prayer I prayed when I found out about Charles. And He has already been faithful again. My heart has changed. My whole view on evangelism has changed. I've always felt comfortable with sharing my faith, but awkward, because I felt like I had an ulterior motive-to move the conversation to spiritual matters. And I felt that my thinly veiled intentions to talk with that person inhibited me from really truly caring for and loving that person well. Now, I feel no pressure to have to bring the conversation to God. Now I just want to serve my community and make each and every person I come into contact with feel loved. Because that's the heart of the Gospel, right? Love.
Not only that, but I trust the Holy Spirit is truly dwelling in me, and that I am not my own. People can't separate me from God. They can't take God out of my actions and my heart. Therefore, when I am loving someone, even though I don't feel like I'm doing anything out of the ordinary, people are taken aback and see God behind everything I do and say. They can see the Gospel in me. And that is enough. That's enough for me. God is (more than) enough for me.
Disclaimer-I'm not saying I'm going to avoid talking about God if the topic arises, just that I'm free from feeling like I have to bring God up all the time with every conversation I have with a nonbeliever.