Many years ago, during a practice round of our high school golf team, a storm drove a teammate and me under a rain shed. Two gentlemen joined us and immediately introduced themselves. One of the men began to talk to us about the Lord Jesus Christ, asking whether we were believers. My teammate responded enthusiastically, being a committed Christian. Conversely, I mumbled an uncertain “Yes” under my breath. I considered myself a believer – I actually wasn’t – but I was uncertain enough to hope the rain would soon stop and the discussion would end.
Six months later, I became a born again believer through the witness of a good friend. I joined a large church in our city where the Lord Jesus was exalted and the Bible emphasized. I met a staff member of the church, an evangelist, who took me under his wing and allowed me to join him when visiting prospects for the church and performing hospital ministry. The evangelist and I became good friends, and discovered we both had an interest in golf. We played a number of rounds together, and I soon discovered that my evangelist friend had once considered a professional golf career before becoming a Christian. Boy, did I discover that!
One day during a round, a thought occurred to me. “Kelly, where you playing one day several years ago when a rain storm forced you to find shelter on the 6th hole at Gulf Pines?” Kelly recalled such a time, and then we both looked at each other and smiled as a light went off in our heads. “Was that you who I made so uncomfortable?!” asked Kelly. “Man, I thought you were going to run out into the rain when I asked you about the Lord!” It had been me, and Kelly and I shook our heads as we realized that God had brought us together on a golf course much sooner than we thought.
God’s preparatory work in leading us to Himself requires many such moments of soil-tilling and seed-sowing, as it were. Perhaps in Heaven, we will be allowed to know all that He did to reveal His saving grace to us, as well as our great need. As we pray for others who have not believed, we do well to ask our Heavenly Father for such working in their lives. I often request that He will orchestrate such events as happened to me on that stormy spring day under a rain shed. I have no doubt that Kelly’s witness nurtured the seed planted in me by the truth I had long heard about the Lord Jesus. The teammate I mentioned also shared Christ with me, and my conversion doubtless resulted in part from being with the right people at the right time.
I haven’t seen Kelly or that teammate in years. I still, however, give thanks for them when I think of the role they played in my life. And I pray for others, that the Lord will send timely rainstorms into their lives, and even more timely witnesses of His ongoing purpose “to seek and to save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10).
“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
(I Corinthians 3:5-7)