What could be more commonplace and yet phenomenal than the birth of a child? New life into the world is certainly cause for joy. All of the possibilities that lay ahead are endless and outweigh any thoughts of struggles and strife. Only hopes and dreams are ordered up and as each course of life is served we quickly realize that our hopes and dreams have to make room for theirs. Yet, the life each of us is given is meant to be savored and seasoned by God’s spirit within. Only then are we able to see the epiphany, a sudden intuitive perception of an alternate reality, a moment of self-actualization, a realization of one’s fullest capacities in Christ meant for those who believe. We realize that from the very beginning life was always a gift to be used for God’s glory. Even today, through the joys, the struggle, the strife and ultimately love, reconciliation and redemption, wisdom still seeks the Gift.
John 12:20-26 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
It’s no mystery that there are times when something has to die in order for something different to emerge. By the same token, whether we like it or not, our birth creates change for someone or some situation. Yet throughout life we resist change for various reasons, but they all fall under one category, fear. We are afraid that we are going to lose something or that we will inherit something of which we are uncertain that we want. Of course I am not solely referring to physical death, but also things that simply need to end. This includes the things we want in our relationships. Jesus knew that his (physical) end was inevitable. He understood that with the separation of his body from the relationship he had with his disciples, was the expectation of the glorification of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit for all who believed. What might we be holding on to in our relationships that is keeping us or the other person from blossoming into the person God has called us to be or simply experiencing something greater that God has intended? How do we know when it is time to change? Perhaps when we begin to ask these questions is the beginning of knowing when change needs to take place.
Job 42:1-2 Then Job answered the Lord: ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
Having recently celebrated Father’s Day, I find that parenthood itself is always a good metaphor for helping us to understand some of what God experiences with us. (And) As I was seeking for something to reflect on for this message to today I came across an article written by Anne Landers that is somewhat suspiciously disguised in the relationship of our own spiritual journey. It is a collection of personal thoughts as a child grows through life. I changed a few of the words to reflect a more contemporary voice. It goes something like this:
When I was
– 4 years old – My dad can do anything.
– 5 years old – My dad knows a whole lot.
– 6 years old – My dad is smarter than your dad.
– 8 years old – My dad doesn’t know exactly everything.
-10 years old – In the olden days when my dad grew up, things sure were different.
-12 years old – Oh, well, naturally, dad doesn’t know anything about that. He is too old to remember.
-14 years old – OMG Don’t pay any attention to my dad. He is so old-fashioned.
-21 years old – Him? Oh God, he’s hopelessly out of date.
-25 years old – Dad knows a little bit about it, but then he should because he has been around so long.
-30 years old – Maybe we should ask dad what he thinks. After all, he’s had a lot of experience.
-35 years old – I’m not doing a single thing until I talk to dad.
-40 years old – I wonder how dad would have handled it. It seems the older I get the wiser my dad becomes.
-50 years old: – My dad can do anything.
What happened in the years between birth and mature adulthood? Is it not enduring love now mixed with heartfelt understanding? In the same way that we endure the process of our children’s maturity, God endures our process of spiritual maturity. Regardless of how old we are when we come in to an understanding of this relationship with our heavenly Father we enter in as infants, new born babes; as Paul puts it, new creations in awe of God’s overwhelming love for us, an adoption of which we’ve never before experienced. The good news is that God is patient with us in that growth even when we aren’t.