MC Bomya | May 2, 2016, 15:51 PM
A story of a changed life on the Illinois State University Campus.
Room 808. Freshman year. She was quiet, reserved, and kept to herself. The few times I reached out she politely declined, but her eyes said, "Leave. Me. Alone." And I would have, if not for the easily missed, yet distinct cry for help, just below the surface.
I couldn't help it. I liked her. So I kept at it, and I almost grew to enjoy the creative ways she could think up to decline my invites. I didn't mind the rejection, it didn't bother me, but I hoped and prayed for the day she would open her door. The handful of times she came out I got to see a glimmer of light that was hidden inside, and she was beautiful. It fanned the flame of hope. But as time went on I noticed that my friend was sick. I noticed she skipped meals, and was always "just getting back from the gym.” Her clothes grew baggier, and I grew worried.
I watched the veil be lifted from her eyes as she encountered the God of this universe and understood that He loved her deeply and personally.
I invited, she declined. I knocked, she didn't answer. I prayed, she hid in her room. This lasted a year.
Spring semester ended and we moved out. I don't think I even got her phone number. I wondered what would happen to her. Would she come back to school the following fall? Would I ever see her again? But the story didn't stop there...it was just the beginning. That summer, unprompted, I got a Facebook message asking if she could come to church with me in the fall. Uh...yes! Praising God, I eagerly awaited August.
It wasn’t easy. Yes, she came...but she was last to arrive, first to leave and didn't want to talk to anyone. But she came...and I got to come with her. I watched her eyes open to a new world of love, respect, and community. I got to tell her about Jesus and how He changed my life, and wanted to change hers too. I watched the veil be lifted from her eyes as she encountered the God of this universe and understood that He loved her deeply and personally.
I got to be there minutes after she finally let Him in and her life was changed. Finally, I got to see what was once barely a glimmer, begin to shine. Like a buried jewel covered in muck, that I had the honor of finding. I saw God begin to heal her. Through it all, I had the honor of being her friend. Once I taught her who Jesus was, now she points me back to him as we walk together. And it all started in room 808. But the story still isn’t over.
How many other room numbers are out there? How many people like her have we yet to meet?