I was so encouraged the other week when I turned up to a G2 Students summer picnic and a voice called at me from across the circle-like rabble of faces 'Pippa! I have become a Christian!'.
The poor guy was a little taken aback at my enthusiasm and my ample hugs, but I couldn't help being both overjoyed and a little ashamed all at the same time.
Two weeks beforehand, I had sat with this student I'd not met before and another friend and prayed with him 'God, if you are real, show yourself'. I had been bricking myself working out whether I should go for it or not, but in the end, I knew it was a good time, and sure enough, we had a long chat followed by that prayer. That day in the summer sun when my new friend told me he had decided to follow Jesus I was a little ashamed that I was a little surprised. Two weeks? That never happens. You mean God did actually answer that prayer - that my friend did, even at that moment he prayed, decide he would become a Christian (as I later found out), and then made that commitment a week later at a Christian retreat with friends.
God doesn't work to our expectations. That student is and international student and is leaving York to go home to China in two months. Two months seemed like an unlikely time frame for him to go from no faith to a follower of Jesus. Two weeks was more than enough for the Lord to meet him, to welcome him and to change his life.
So why waste time? The summer holidays are three months long for most students - AGES! I'm not suggesting we go and jump on all our friends who we want to introduce to Jesus and ask them if they want to meet him right now, but I think we do need to reassess our expectations when God does call us to step out.
Students - you have three months with your home friends. That's an age. Make the most of it - be ready to share when they ask, to speak when prompted, and to have faith that God loves them so much, and is able to do some much more than you understand or could even imagine.
School Leavers - This is going to be the last long summer with your friends before you head off to pastures new - make the most of it.
God doesn't work to our time frames or to our expectations.
Let's see this summer ring loud with stories of God doing amazing things in our friends' lives, stories beyond what we've ever asked or even imagined (Eph 3:20), stories we'll share in freshers week that will inspire and provoke another term of living for Jesus on campuses across the UK!