I’ve been a Christian since birth, or at least, since I can remember. I grew up in a Christian household, went to Sunday school and then various youth groups. I found a church while at university and went on and off, always going to my ‘home’ church during the university holidays. Sometimes I felt close to God, sometimes He was pretty far down the priority list. But I always described my faith as personal, specific to me, private… My encounters with God were nice, enjoyable, comforting…
On 17 September 2013, my husband and I invited several church-goers in their 20s and early 30s to join us for a new small group. The group flourished and we all enjoyed discussing the Bible, our faith and the odd contentious topic in a safe environment. I still thought my faith was fairly private, but it was nice to be able to talk about it with like-minded people. We all took it in turns to lead a session, and one week one of the boys led a very challenging session on miracles, which included showing a film about God doing big, showy miracles in a church in America. This was new to me, and I didn’t understand it. What it did achieve, however, was to open my eyes, just a little, to the possibility that God didn’t need to fit into my understanding, and that I didn’t need to understand why He did what He did. I just needed to embrace it.
A while later, during a session about prophecy, we all prayed for each other in smaller groups. I prayed for a friend who was in the process of buying a new house and in my mind as I prayed I saw an image of my friend and her husband sat in a sitting room with a Christmas tree in the background. A few weeks later she sent a picture of her new house – it was the same as the house I had seen in my mind as I prayed, and they had moved in by Christmas. I was excited and amazed, and my eyes were opened a little more about the possibilities of God’s power and love.
Gradually over the following months, I experienced more of God, always when with my small group. In a session on fellowship, friends had words from God for me, and I saw pictures in my mind which I believe came from God and which tied in with images that others had that evening. I attended a Friday night worship session a couple of times and felt buoyed up in my worship by the presence of other Christians. My meetings with God became breath-taking, awe-inspiring, profound…
And that’s when I realised it – my faith is so much stronger when it is held up by other Christians. All of my ‘big moments’ with God over the past two and a bit years (and they are getting so much more frequent) have happened when I am with people. My faith isn’t private – it is communal, loud, often filled with tears and laughter and so much bigger because my friends help it to grow. I love getting to talk about God with my small group. But even more than that, I love getting to meet God with my small group.
So if you, like I did, have a ‘private’ faith, I would encourage you to seek out ways to interact with God while with other people. If you are part of a small group, don’t just ‘study’ God or talk about Him – talk to Him, and help each other meet Him. Go to your small group expecting to meet God, and ready to share Him with each other.
About Suzie Lambert
Suzie is an HR advisor at a small oil and gas recruitment company. She is an active member of her local church, contributing in a variety of ways including singing in the band, leading the intercessional prayers, and co-ordinating one of the small groups. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, hanging out with friends and has recently started taking on fitness challenges.