I am 32 years old. I am certainly not an old man but I am too old to ever use youth, immaturity or inexperience as a viable excuse for a major mistake. Last night I went with a friend of mine to the local minor league baseball game. These kids were walking around with beers and I had to face the harsh reality that these "kids" were of legal age and therefore had to be at least 21 years old. These "kids" can legally vote, carry a weapon, drink alcohol and sign contracts. So to say the least, I felt dated.
So the next logical step for me is self evaluation. Where am I in life? How am I doing in my walk with God? My marriage? What kind of father am I? The only measuring stick I have in these areas is to think about what I always wanted to be and to look around me at how others are doing. But there is a huge problem with these attempts to measure. My expectations were formed without the benefit of experience and the opinions I have of others is based on extremely limited information about them. Not to mention, without the benefit of seeing how the lives of others turn out, I am still dealing with a lack of experience. So where do I turn?
In order to best determine if I am on the right path I think it is best to go to the One who created the path and created me to walk on the path. My natural tendancy would be to get a check list together, compose a list a Bible verses through which I can compare my life or to conjure up a great program to work in order to land at some favorable place. As comfortable, predictable and challenging as that may be I can't bring myself to do it.
While God is a God or order and while I know He has certain expectations of me, I know that God's goal for me is a process. It isn't a program, schedule or mandated guidelines...it is process. How else could the murdering Moses lead the people of God? How else could the murdering, cheating David be "a man after God's own heart"? How else could the denial of Peter be understood by Jesus? How else could James deny his brother's diety early in life only to lead others to him later in life? Process.
Why else would we be referred to as God's children? Do children grow, change, make mistakes? Sure they do and in fact, we expect them to. Why else would we be referred to as the bride of Christ? I know my wife and I are better to one another than we were, more in love than ever and enjoy a depth that wasn't possible when she was first my "bride". With all of that stated, the Bible seems to teach about a faith in a God that is all about process.
So am I in the process of "becoming"? Sure I am. Is right now a particularly high or low point in my walk with God, my marriage or as a father? It doesn't matter. Process implies the horrible and the fantastic, the slow and the fast, the hurt and the healing. Perhaps we are vulnerable to our over correction leading to mistakes, guilt and shame when we focus too much on the here and now or when we try to grade ourselves on today...or even on this week or this month.
Luther said, "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly still". Amen.
May we all live boldly in faith, in our relationships and even in our failures...but live out the boldness of the absurdity revealed to us on the Cross of Jesus in all aspects of the Process.