I was 18, and at a loss for what to do with myself after the intensity of my A Levels and the release of my results and news of whether I’d got into uni, when I first threw myself into ‘God seeking’. I was a new Christian, and totally overwhelmed by God’s love for the first time, so I decided to spend that awkward summer with a pile of Christian books and worship CDs, and long times of prayer. I was massively inspired by the Biblical accounts of Moses and Isaiah, who had really powerful experiences of God, even ‘seeing’ God, which changed their lives, and I wanted that too.
I had some really awesome prayer experiences that summer – some practical answered prayers, but mainly encounters with God. But I didn’t have any ‘Isaiah 6’ moments! I went to uni that September, and life became even more hectic. After the summer, it seemed really traumatic not to have all that time for prayer and I felt it was harder to seek after God. I felt further from God.
But God had got in, and was at work! Whilst I had been ‘seeking God’s face’ like Moses, God had been answering me sideways – ‘you can’t see my face – but I’m going to show you my heart instead’. One of the first Christian Union meetings I went to at uni was led by the almost-non-existently small SPEAK group* – and whatever it was they themed the meeting on and talked about, God got hold of me and basically said to me ‘right – this is where my heart is – you need to pay attention to this please!’! My heart was broken over injustice for the first time – previously I’d been the person who gave to charity out of duty and whose eyes glazed over when people started talking about poverty. And I just don’t think I’d have ever gotten to that point myself – not without having opened myself up to seeing God and letting God do whatever God wanted to do with me.
I’ve been involved with SPEAK ever since, as well as other social justice movements – and the experience has shown me how important it is to stay open to God changing us, transforming our hearts, generally having God’s way in our lives. My life’s gone in some really unexpected directions as a result, and I know I’ve really changed in a lot of ways. God’s opened my eyes up to many injustices in the world – equal rights for women and LGBT people, the environmental impacts of our food choices, and individualism, amongst others. And I know I still resist God all the time – think what God could do with me, with us, if we open ourselves up more!
I think we can only get so far in the fight against injustice if we are in it out of anger or a sense of duty – I think we need to ‘get it’ on a heart level to stay with it for the long haul, until things really change for the better. And the best way I know of having our hearts changed is to spend time getting to know God, praying the dangerous prayers honestly, to see God’s heart for the world, and be open to having God change our opinions and lives as a result. I’m challenging myself to seeking God more this summer – will you join me?
(Struggling? Need ideas? Read this...)
*incidentally, that almost-non-existent SPEAK group had spent that summer seeking God too – and their answer was that it wasn’t just me who ‘got injustice’ that evening – God got hold of several of us, and suddenly we had a proper functioning SPEAK society! So do it! :)