I came to university passionate about seeing my flatmates and course friends come to know Jesus. How would they not, I thought to myself, when they saw the life I would lead and heard about the one who had changed my life? But three years on, it’s difficult to see any tangible fruit. I know many seeds have been planted, and their views on Christians and the Church have hopefully changed for the better, but no one has responded to Jesus yet.
And sadly, my situation isn’t unique.
Many of my friends, who were arguably more passionate about telling their friends about Jesus, also haven’t seen anywhere near as many as they’d like come to know Jesus. Is the gospel not really good news? Are we not good enough evangelists? And why am I more eager to get people watching Modern Family than I am on getting people into the kingdom? (Seriously though, watch Modern Family.)
As a consequence, when I hear a talk encouraging me to be light in the darkness, or treat my place of work as my mission field, I can’t help but cringe. Yes, I’ve been doing this for years, thank you very much, and sometimes I wonder whether it’s working. To be honest, I don’t really mind if people laugh at me for being a Christian – I’m frequently ridiculed for straightening my hair, supporting Liverpool and colour co-ordinating what I wear. It’s more that general interaction will become, well, awkward once I play the Jesus card. I quite like being popular and don’t want my reputation to suffer. Also, the fear at the thought of asking someone to church is crippling – I’m less nervous asking a girl out.
And then God breaks into my world, gives me some perspective and a very nice pep talk telling me to get a grip and get over my insecurities – which are woefully self-absorbed. So what have I learnt along the way?
A discussion that God and I frequently have is how He’s God and I’m not, and that it’s so much better that way round. So who am I to dictate how everything should plan out? Numerous times God has graciously answered my prayers in different ways than I originally wanted, and only through hindsight can I see how misguided I was, and how grateful I am that God did his own thing. My frustration at people not coming to know Jesus is good and healthy, but that needs to spur me on to be more proactive and intentional to evangelise, as opposed to growing in bitterness and pessimism about the lack of fruit I’ve seen so far.
God has a much better sense of time than I ever have or will. Surely the creator of time knows the right time for things to happen. Perhaps living in a world of instant gratification has tarnished our view on waiting and patience, and we just need to actively wait and trust a little more without complaining.
In every other situation that I wrestle with God about, I strive to find peace in the fact that He’s in control and reigns supreme over every storm that I face, and that it’s not about me and it never has been. This situation is no different – my role was never to create the universe or determine when events are meant to happen in people’s lives. Instead, my role is to faithfully serve God, find my identity in Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit tell the world about the greatest adventure and romance I’ve ever experienced. Jesus’s suffering on the cross is more important than my reputation suffering. And the results? I’ll leave them up to God.
(image via CreationSwap)