Chapter 3 – Growing Friendship
Phil’s days were carefree other than the studies he so enjoyed, and in many ways his life at twenty-one resembled his teenage years. He had no pressing responsibilities or serious thinking outside of his homework, that is, until he met Daniel Landers and his sister Bree.
Phil first met Daniel in the second semester of his junior year. Daniel had transferred from Colorado and was also a junior. The science professor, Richard Cates, introduced Daniel and several other new students, saying, “Please welcome your new classmates and try to help them settle in.” then assigned Daniel the seat to Phil’s right.
Phil and Daniel struck up an immediate friendship coupled with a healthy rivalry. Working just as hard and with just as much enthusiasm as Phil, Daniel’s grades hovered right around Phil’s each and every course. Professor Cates was thrilled to have two model students in one year.
Phil very much admired his new challenger, so he began chatting with Daniel over lunch break and getting to know him outside of class. It didn’t take long to figure out that Daniel was a Christian. He brought up God naturally in general conversation and prayed before meals. This made Phil a bit uneasy because he had no such belief himself. Not wanting to lose this new-found buddy, however, he politely bowed his head, occasionally sneaking glances at Daniel during prayer, and nodded and smiled whenever Jesus’ sacrifice or God’s love came up in conversation.
After a couple of days Daniel noticed Phil’s lack of participation in these talks and asked, “So Phil, what do you believe?”. Having been questioned outright, Phil admitted his religious indifference. “I guess I don’t believe in anything except what I can see at this point.” “It is not”, he quickly added, “lack of respect that keeps me from belief in something outside of myself, but lack of knowledge.”
At this, Daniel hastened to invite Phil to a Bible study at his home just off campus. “Come on, you’ll love it. It’s a good chance to make some new friends as well as overcoming that lack of knowledge that’s holding you back.” Phil accepted after only a moment’s hesitation. What was the harm, after all? “Besides,” he thought, “if I want to keep up with Daniel in class it will be helpful to learn what makes him tick.” He did not know it yet, but soon these lessons would interest him even more than science.