By Brenda W. McIntyre –
“Tara!” The vivacious student approached me with a hand full of fliers when someone called her name. “Hi!” she said, handing me a sheet.
I was moving into my dormitory at college. The flier was an invitation to visit the Baptist Student Union, which I had no desire to do. Religion was for people with nothing else to believe in. I had something to believe in—graduating from college. With a degree, I would be self-sufficient and never rely on anyone. Inside my room, I tossed the paper into the wastebasket.
Not long into the quarter I began slipping into a depression. I went to bed early one evening, going into a deep sleep. It felt like I was plummeting into an abyss, sinking deeper and deeper into a black void. I awoke when my roommate came in, but couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d been dying. I became convinced I would die if I stayed at the dismal place, so I decided when the quarter was over I would pack my belongings and go home.
The same week I overheard a professor asking about a student who died. I didn’t know who it was or how it happened, but thinking about it kept me from sleep that night. Grasping for anything that might help, I got my roommate’s Bible. Clutching it throughout the night I prayed, “God, if You exist, please help me. Let me see my co-worker, Tammy, in the morning, and I’ll ask her for help.” I rarely saw her on campus, but I knew Tammy was a Christian.
Going to my first class, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Tammy was coming out of the building I was entering. I shivered from the chill running down my spine and asked if she would meet me after work.
That evening I learned it was a close friend of Tammy’s named Tara Lockhart who was killed by a drunk driver three days earlier. The funeral had been that day. Tammy was grieving the loss of her friend, yet she was reaching out to me.
Before the quarter was over I went to church with Tammy. One time was enough to spark something inside of me. Throughout Christmas break I anticipated returning to college. No longer did feelings of depression and imminent thoughts of death plague me. Instead I was filled with a desire to know God.
I returned to college and began attending church regularly. One Sunday after the service we were going back to campus. At a caution light Tammy said, “This is where Tara was in the accident that afternoon when leaving church.”
I was appalled. We hadn’t talked about Tara much. I didn’t know she attended the church where I was now a member. As weeks passed, I learned more about her and could imagine what she was like. I realized it was through Tara’s death that I was saved. I’m sure she prayed about leading others to Christ. It just happened to be in her death that she witnessed to me.
Although I went away to college feeling alone and uncertain of God’s existence, I now know I’m never alone. I will never be self-sufficient; I must rely on God to guide me every day, but I have something better than a college degree. God will supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). He knows my needs before I even ask Him (Matthew 6:8). And when I go home to meet my Maker, I know I will meet Tara also.