I came to Georgia Tech as a freshmen following a wonderful senior year in high school. In that last year of high school, my heart, which had been cold towards the Lord, was turned, and I began to enjoy Him and read His Word. I even led many of my friends in high school to receive Christ! I felt as though I was living a real Christian life.
So when I came to Georgia Tech, I was filled with hope and expectation that I could continue my new life with Christ on campus. I moved into one of the dorms (Smith) with an excellent roommate (he was reasonably neat and the most generous person I had ever met, even letting me use his car!) and settled in. On my wing of the dorm I also met a bunch of guys who I really enjoyed being with, too.
It was strange; I couldn't say I was unhappy. But I was also unfulfilled, if I took honest stock of my inward being. Eventually I got some help from, of all things, reading my yearbook from my senior year (nostalgia or something compelled me to open it). When I got to the back pages, I re-read the letters and notes from all the people who had signed my yearbook. I was quickly convicted as I read many notes from those I had witnessed to in high school and from many I had not even spoken to directly. "Thank you for your faithfulness to speak the gospel," was the common theme.
I realized I was not the same person I had been in high school. Somehow my heart had cooled off. I realized rather suddenly that in my new life at Georgia Tech I had spoken to others about the Lord Jesus only a couple of times, and that rather timidly. I still read the Bible, and prayed, but the fire that had burned so fiercely in me was waning.
I prayed that the Lord would re-ignite my zeal and give me courage, make me strong, etc. My concept was that I would become a kind of campus evangelist, strong, mighty, speaking the gospel of grace with power to fraternities and dorms, leaving a wake of converts...it was quite a fantasy, and not surprisingly, God ignored my prayers.
Eventually things got pretty desperate. Before, when I was unaware of my "decline", I was okay, but now it was almost worse, because I acutely sensed my slow slide away from the Lord, but was unable to arrest it, even through personal prayer. I began to take long walks around campus, talking to the Lord, singing hymns, and often weeping, pouring out my heart to the Lord, asking Him to save me, to lift me up out of my defeated situation. It was during one of those walks that a verse came to me (I firmly believe this was the Lord's speaking). It was 2 Tim 2:22, which states, "But flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart."
The words that stood out were "WITH THOSE". In the light of that verse I saw that I was pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace with nobody. Only with myself, and by myself. It was as if the Lord was saying, so gently, "Don't pray to be made strong, to be set on fire, to be made full of faith. Just pray to be brought to THOSE. That will take care of everything."
How liberating! I realized I had not been praying at all for a spiritual companion or to be brought together with other pursuers of Christ. Immediately I began to pray to be brought together with some other lovers and pursuers of Christ, some companions. This prayer, unlike some of my earlier ones, was in line with God's will. Hence it was quickly answered. My first companion was a surprise--my roommate! Then the Lord led me to some brothers who loved the Lord Jesus and His Word. Individually we were pretty weak. But when we came together to pray and fellowship, we found ourselves fanned into flame, even to the extent that we were witnessing to our friends and roommates. In addition, we upheld one another through prayer for each other, and also had a regular Bible study.
What had been such an impossible struggle as an individual was now easy and enjoyable WITH THOSE.