In high school, I had a tight-knit group of Christian friends. We encouraged one another through the pressures and struggles of teenage life. One of my best friends was Thomas (name has been changed).
Thomas and I were in several leadership positions together in our youth group. He and his mom became Christians two years before I met him. His dad wasn't a believer. I remember sitting with him late one night at a big youth rally listening to him cry about how broken he was over his lost father. He told me he'd spend the rest of his life living in his car if it meant his dad would come to Christ.
I always thought there was something beautiful about a kid who would give up everything he owned to have his dad find the love of Jesus. I wondered what kind of crazy things God would do with his life, with that kind of passion for the Lord.
Thomas went to college, started learning things that made him question his faith, prayed for God to get him through the loneliness and hurt he felt as he went through his freshman year...and heard no answer. And he stepped away from God. Completely.
We didn't talk for six years.
Last year I reconnected with Thomas. Over burgers we reminisced about the study halls we spent goofing off, the bands we saw, and the old friends we missed. Finally the conversation turned more serious. Honestly, almost shyly, Thomas asked if I was still "saving myself for marriage" (a big topic from our youth group days). When I answered yes, he whistled and looked down at his hands.1