I hate to start with such a well-established clichť, but for me, my university years truly were the best of my life. They started with the hedonistic highs and heathen lows of my fresherís year, terminated dramatically by my unexpected but utterly complete conversion to Christianity in the summer of 2001. The remaining 2 years at Liverpool were punctuated by adventures ensuing from a reality of the presence of God as normal as essay deadlines and value baked beans.
NaÔve faith partnered with fellow pilgrims that challenged, inspired and dared us to believe, led us all on amazing journeys. We saw awesome miracles on an almost daily basis. We were a community of Jesus freaks, committed to chasing after Christ and his kingdom.
All too soon graduation came, normal life beckoned, and the reality of salaries, 9-5 office hours and council tax took over. I spent the first 3 years of ďadult lifeĒ working as a youth worker for the church so the banal was held at bay for a while. For the last 2 years however I have been a pilgrim fully immersed in the secular world. And be it within the church or at work, not since my time in Liverpool, has the reality and adventure of God as habitual as I once knew.
For the last few months I have been wrestling with myself and God as to how my life has become a mediocre platitude like so many of my contemporaries. Iím still active in the church, pray and learn, teach and share. But the passion, the vision, the hunger is so often secondary to the challenge of work, bills, life in general. I know in my heart and in my spirit that somewhere, somehow, Iíve compromised. Iíve settled for something less that what a life lived for Christ could be, and Iím desperate to re-discover the communion with Christ I once knew.
ďToday, if you hear my voice, donít harden your heartsĒ (Psalm 95:6).
As my fellow Jesus freaks have scattered across the country, and the world, I lost the iron that sharpened me. With less and less dreamers alongside me, more and more drifters take their place. Speeches of worry and apathy replaced vision and expectation, and in all the noise Godís voice hushed until He was silent. Full of regret and remorse I realise I have stopped paying attention to the reality of God. I have been giving Him the cold shoulder. Iíve stopped listening.
So today, I make a vow. One simple sentence. Uttered in the absolute knowledge of my failings and the futility of my best intentions. But by the grace of God and with the provision of His Spirit I pledge that today and from this day forward: If I hear the voice of God, I will not harden my heart.
Gone are the old days of youthful naÔvety, replaced instead with enduring vision and a growing understanding of the complexities of life. In the midst of humdrum living, I pray for the reality of God and the sound of his voice. Let the adventure begin.