I was at Anderson College, it was my freshman year and I was an absolute witnessing machine for Christ. Seriously—I think people nicknamed me “the Christian terrorist!” If someone sat still long enough I was telling them about Christ.
There was a dude that I met that year through playing softball that everyone called “Rooney.” He was a typical good ‘ole boy (and a really good softball player—most good ‘ole boys are) but had never really considered Christianity.
Sure enough, as “fate” would have it we struck up a conversation one day. (Actually, I was on his softball team and he came by my room & asked me to go and hit with him—he was trying to help me out because…well…I was HORRIBLE!)
When I asked him about Christ (he knew it was coming) he said he wasn’t really that interested. I pressed him on it a little and he just wasn’t hearing it…so, I told him that I would be praying for him and left it alone.
(By the way—when I told him I would be praying for him he was absolutely floored! He told me that no one had ever told him that they were praying for him—ever!)
I saw him several more times that year…and from time to time I would bring up Jesus…and each time Rooney said he just wasn’t interested…and each time I said that I would be praying for him…and each time he would thank me.
Well, the year ended (it was 1991) and I never really heard from him again…until…
It was 2005 & I was getting ready to leave for lunch when my assistant handed me a note and said, “Some guy called, he said you would know him—he had a weird name, Rooney.”
“Really,” I asked, “Rooney called?”
“Yep, sure did,” she said, “and he said he wanted to chat with you for five minutes whenever you got the chance.”
I stepped back into my office and called him—he was at work. (His voice hadn’t changed at all.)
We shot the breeze for a few minutes until he finally said, “Perry, I’ve been putting off this phone call for a long time. But, do you remember back in 1991 when you told me about Jesus?”
I told him that I did and he continued, “Well, I just wanted you to know that I never forgot that conversation…it just sort of always stuck with me. And…so…I finally started going to church and eventually gave my life to Christ. Dude, my life was changed and I just wanted to call and say thank you for initiating that conversation—it made a difference in my life and I just figured you would want to know.”
I have to be honest—I had a lump in my throat the size of Texas. I could barely speak. We chatted for a few more minutes and then hung up. Afterwards I just sat there thinking about how discouraged I had felt because Rooney did not immediately respond and was reminded that Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that He makes all things beautiful in HIS time. God had a plan—I could not see it, but He allowed me to be a part of it—and for that I am thankful.
The reason for me sharing that story is this…I know there are people who read this site who have lost friends and family members. You’ve tried to share Christ with them. You’ve tried inviting them to church. You’ve tried EVERYTHING you can think of and they just don’t seem to be coming around.
Reality is this—YOU AND I DON’T HAVE A CLUE AS TO WHAT GOD MIGHT BE DOING IN AND AROUND THEM! Don’t give up! Keep praying for them. Keep encouraging them. Keep being their friend. Keep inviting them. They may not have came to church on Easter…but they might come this week, or next, or Christmas…or whenever.
They might just be the “Rooney” in your life. It may take years to see them finally step over the line of faith…don’t give up.