I just got back from Student Life’s largest Mid Year Conference since, well, I don’t know the specifics. But it was pretty massive. If you didn’t go, you definitely missed out. If you were there, it’s fairly possible we never even met. That’s probably because it was massive but also because I’m clueless. Nevertheless, MYC was an experience to discount many others.
Of course, if you asked anyone who was there about MYC, they’d probably answer by telling you about how God truly spoke to them. Indeed, God did move in many of us. Personally, He spoke to me clearly and profoundly through His Word and the interactions I had with His children. It was a truly incredible time to centre ourselves on how He is shaping and using us in His purpose. God is so good isn’t He? He gently waits for us to turn to Him and when we do, we are never disappointed. He definitely met us on the mountain.
But, I have to ask, how much of the change we saw over the past week will last? I’ve said it many times before, at these sorts of events, something has to be ignited. Be it our hearts, our desires, our souls, this generation, we’re not fussy just something has to be in flames. MYC did not disappoint with several worship songs calling for God to “burn like a fire in me for the sake of the world”. Then there was the bonfire. You might say MYC was ablaze.
Yet, as much as we might like to keep that spiritual high going, the altitude is bound to drop. MYC is over. This may be the last time some of us see each other. Now, we must return to our daily lives where we are often frustrated by those around us, who misunderstand us or ostracise us for our beliefs. It’s hard to be the salt of the earth when we feel deflated.
We all get tired. We all feel defeated at times. Does this mean we’re doing it wrong? Does God take His hands from us when we crash and burn as inevitably we will if we do it all ourselves? Where’s God when exhaustion sets in and robs us of our passion? Sometimes He’s so silent! Why doesn’t He speak as clearly now as He did on the mountain? Have we stopped listening? Maybe, but what’s more likely is that the high has fallen. We are no longer surrounded by like-minded individuals spurring us on towards Him. We feel alone and this is okay.
Sometimes I fear events like MYC set us up for disappointment. Truly, it is not possible to maintain a spiritual high all the time. Paul didn’t. In his letters to the Thessalonian church, Paul explains that at times he did succumb to the pain of spiritual tiredness. He thanks God for Timothy who helped him maintain his strength when he could find nothing within himself. During this time Paul had to rely on God through Timothy to carry on the good work. You can’t do it alone. You were never meant to. You are meant to lean on God through those He has brought into your life.
To consider the Great Commission as our first and last objective on this earth, as we were encouraged to do at MYC, seems insurmountable. Definitely, it is impossible for one to do on their own. Sure, Matthew 19:26 reminds us that all things are possible for the One we serve. But we are not meant to do it alone. Jesus sent out the apostles in twos so that they may have accountability and stability against the storms of life that presented themselves (Mark 6:7). As I’m writing this, I have the Sanctus Real song ‘We Need Each Other’ running through my mind. “I think I caught a glimpse of life without friends. Bitter, hollow, dark and lonely… We need each other through all the highs and lows … ‘Cause no one’s meant to be alone…” Truer words may never have been sung in my humble opinion.
It’s easy to think, now that we’ve been equipped to further His kingdom effectively, that that should consume our every waking moment. We need to catch the kingdom vision right? That was the purpose of the glorious five point plan wasn’t it? Of course, but we’re no good to anyone if we’re drunk on tiredness or spiritual fatigue. Sometimes the best thing we can do is remove ourselves from social circles and recentre ourselves on what truly matters. I know right? Being alone. I’m contradicting myself aren’t I? Well, if it was good enough for Jesus, then I think it’s good enough for us too. Several times throughout the Gospels it gives mention of Jesus taking time away from people and just getting alone with God. (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12 for example). Don’t listen to Bon Jovi, we won’t sleep when we’re dead. Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is rest.
I think I can hear your thoughts: ‘Wait… Won’t we be wasting valuable time if we’re alone? Wouldn’t it be better to spend this time in meaningful conversation with non-believers? Have you never heard of Smith Wigglesworth?!’ You’re right, but consider this: It’s not necessarily a bad thing to feel like we need to be alone, but it’s important not to stay there. Jesus’ ministry was only three years, but He recognised the importance of focusing on God first and did not shy away from taking time alone – even forty days (Matthew 4). Why should we act any differently if the Son of God was not immune from distractions?
So, here is my challenge to you dear reader. MYC is over. You are home, staring at your computer (or on a train, reading this on your iPhone. Shame on you!) All those people you met over the past week now only exist in the little red icons on the top left of your Facebook page. No matter how much you refresh the page, they won’t materialise in any real sense. You want that spiritual high back. So much has changed in your attitude as a direct result of what you learned at MYC. You want so desperately to reach as many people as possible but something is holding you back. You’re tired. I want to encourage you to rest. Realise you cannot do it in your own strength. When we feel like we cannot do anything for Him, He amazes us by doing His best work because we are forced to rely on Him completely. Giving all of us to all of them, does not mean that we deplete ourselves beyond recognition. You are merely the vehicle by which all of Christ can be given to all of them.
So here are the three little words you all want to hear: Go to sleep.
Yours resting in His goodness,
Keep the change brothers and sisters!