Abide | Evangelism: Keep On Keeping On
We’ve touched in on ‘evangelism’ over the past few weeks: both on stepping out in faith and using every God-given opportunity, and knowing that it’s OK to feel disappointed and hurt when our friends don’t take us up on our offers to hear more about Jesus. Today we’re looking at what it takes to keep going, and keep trusting that God is at work behind the scenes.
The post below is taken from my experience at university – but we’re praying this post would encourage and inspire you to keep going courageously, whatever stage of life you are at. Lucy x
When university is a hard ground.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. (Hebrews 12:2)
My time at university gave me the most overwhelming sense of urgency and passion about my friends coming to Jesus, and I will always value those years for teaching me the importance of living boldly and courageously. But what about when we don't see results after three years of investment into our friends and communities?
One thing I remember very strongly throughout university is the amount of advice we got given from people older than us, saying that university is the most likely time for people to come to know Jesus, and telling me not to waste these three precious years. And of course, this was true in many ways – as students we have far more time and flexibility than we might ever again, and there is amazing transformation happening in universities up and down the country. (Shout out to our very own Nadia, who ran the sensational STORY Durham this week!)
But for me, walking out of Durham Cathedral in my graduation gown after three years of intense commitment to university CUs and evangelism, I had no big stories to tell. I hadn’t seen any of the people I’d prayed so much for coming to really understand very much of the God I so loved – and it was tough. It was easy at that stage to feel like I’d missed the boat; I’d missed the ‘transfer window’ of university years, and now my friendships would be squeezed out by grad schemes, travelling plans and commuting.
Maybe you feel like this about leaving school or a job, or about friends you haven’t managed to keep up with from other places. For me, I felt a mixture of guilt (Did I do enough? Did I send enough invitations? Was I bold enough?) – and disappointment (What about all those prayers, God? Why don’t you want them to come to know you? Do you care as much as me, God?)
My experiences post-university have taught me this:
1. THE PRESENT TIME MIGHT NOT BE THE RIGHT TIME.
Despite not seeing huge change at university, the year and a half I’ve had since graduation has been the most fruitful and rewarding time I’ve ever experienced in terms of sharing my faith with my friends.
Compared to university life, where we had Fun-On-Tap, the life of a graduate is often confusing, challenging, exhausting – and pretty lonely. Many of my friends suddenly questioned what they were here for – what their ambitions were, and it led to more questions than they’d had at university.
Friends started to ask if they could join me at church on a Sunday night. Friends who never even had time to reply to my invitations at university began to text me with their questions and thoughts – searching for more. I’ve found myself wrapped up for hours in conversations about life, the universe and everything in between, with friends I’d almost given up on - and it is a total privilege.
Getting to do life with people in this way has given me such a deep sense of God's mighty hand in the details of my life, and it’s all the sweeter now that I can look back and realise that He really was working in my waiting. Nothing was wasted.
2. So: Keep on keeping on.
Like Abby said last week – it’s right to feel sad and disappointed if our friends say ‘no’ or don't respond to the good news of Jesus, especially when it’s drilled into us that university is the most fruitful time of our lives. It’s amazing if that’s true for you – but if you’re not seeing any change, or any results, then please hear me when I say that God is working behind the scenes. Do not give up! We WILL see the goodness of God!
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
You might not see the benefits of what you are sowing right now, wherever you are placed, but keep going. Don't lose heart. Don't give up.
It might be tiring and feel a bit useless. You might lose touch with your friends and think that none of your efforts were ever worth it - but remember this: nothing is ever wasted in God’s economy. Hear the message in Galatians – at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.
I am coming to realise that God’s timing is so magnificently different to my own. That His immense wisdom and power totally eclipses my own small view of the world. His ways are far beyond mine (thank goodness!) and He is mighty to save.
He loves your friends powerfully, and will give you exactly what you need to keep stepping out courageously and sharing His love with the people who need it.
And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. (Isaiah 55:8)
Keep on keeping on.
Lucy graduated from Durham (the best) in June 2015, and got married to James (also the best) in June 2016. Having grown up in Cambridge, she is now adjusting to life in London and works in Marketing, while overseeing the day-to-day running of More Precious.