This morning I read two blogs by two in college students. One described the turmoil of hurting someone else and how moving on is a very hard process. The other described the feeling of desperation to feel God, grow closer to God, and to be able to feel like there was a possibility of reducing the suffering in a third world country.
Both of these blogs saw hope in the future. One blog had a hope of Christ interceding and replacing the idol of self that so often grows and places itself on a pedestal beside God. The other described a pull yourself up by the bootstraps and make the decision each day to mature and grow.
I can completely empathize with both of these blogs. In fact, I almost felt like I was the ghost writer of both. But, as I read both of these blogs, it reminded me of some words of wisdom by a beloved professor I had at Moody Bible Institute. Dr. Sauer talked about how when he was in his college years, he constantly felt that something was lacking or that there was an indescribable problem in his life. He talked about he and his friends having had a conversation with a guest speaker who eventually boiled down this problem to one thing. He was a young adult.
That is the problem? Being a young adult?
I thought God meets us where we are, how we are, and in the age we live. Isn’t God contextual?
But this makes so much sense. As we enter young adulthood life forces us to become more self aware. We go to classes, or work, or a new city and realize just how deficient we are. It is not longer a place in our life where we have a test score that reflects our aptitude in life. No, our deficiencies show that we have progress that has to begin. There is work to be done.
But having work that needs to be done in my life, and in your life, does not mean that we need to be downcast. Most often these issues can and will cause us to have a feeling of dejection. I can assure you that over the past five and a half years I have felt less and less confident in my qualification to be a pastor. I can relate to the feeling of “how could I be used?” I can relate to the feeling of “why haven’t I arrived?”
But here is the thing: God uses the recognition of deficiencies and brokenness in order to grow us into the image of His Son. This is not a place for an exposition of Romans 5, and I am hardly qualified to explain it to you. I have read it dozens of times (even translated it from the Greek and have done a handful of lessons from the first few verses!), but it seems like each time I do, I feel like there is so much room for me to grow in my understanding of the text. And, it cannot be taken by itself. It must be read within the context of chapters 4 and 6 (do not forget 6!).
But what I just said about Romans 5 is an example of what I am talking about. God had to bring me to the point of recognizing that I do not have a complete understanding of His Word. I am not perfect. I NEED Him. I NEED to grow.
And God promises to help us grow. It won’t be easy. In fact, growth is super hard. But Christ promised the Holy Spirit to those who believe. He called it the Comforter. I have a hunch that this name is more appropriate than we can imagine.
Also, there is only so much that we can pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. There is only so far that self help books and gurus can bring us. The only guaranteed route of growth is the narrow path which Christ talks about. Take some time to find this Jesus as He revealed Himself in the Gospels. But do not stop there. God shows us Who He is through the entire canon of Scripture. This may (will!) take a life time to see, but I ask you to join me in this process.
Also, do not forget how God gives us the church (Christ’s body!) as a means of growth and encouragement (παρακαλέω: “to exhort, encourage, or call out” is a common thread of the book of Hebrews… Check it out!). Never give up on church
ps… not sure how the picture entirely relates. Be post modern and try to come up with a meaning. I just thought the artwork at Artprize 2012 was cool, so I am posting pictures I took on some of my blogs.