by: Rev. Ed Schneider
My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, 2So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; 3Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, 4If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God.
Have you ever noticed that when you think you have life all figured out something happens to drastically correct your opinion. There’s not a person alive that hasn’t, at one time or another, believed that they had a part of their lives well in-hand and then all of a sudden “real life” comes along and provides an awakening of humility…a broadening of perspectives…even a symbolic splash of cold water thrown in their face. Children are good examples of this phenomenon. They continually have to reassess their level of physical, social, and emotional competency. Think about that for just a moment. Try and remember what it was like for you when you were growing up.
Let’s say you’re a child celebrating your first birthday. You’ve got this “self-awareness thing” down and all of a sudden you now have to get good at something called “walking.” Ok, you are now three and taking on the challenge of walking is rather easy for you and then your parents throw this thing about “eating neatly” in your direction…and don’t even mention the silliness of six months ago when they made you start to learn about some ridiculous contraption called a “potty.”
You are now six years old and you’ve got this “kid stuff” down pretty well and your mother throws another unpleasant life altering experience at you when she informs you about having to neatly reassemble the bed linen each and every morning. What’s that about anyway? Of course that is just the beginning of your life of surprises and adjustments.
Next arrives your eighth birthday when you discover that homework actually starts getting in the way with important play-time. After a few years of maturing in your young life you think to yourself, “Finally, I have life all figured out.” As you are blowing out the twelve candles on your birtday cake and seemingly without notice your life is turned upside down yet again. Your worldview takes on a strange new light. You begin to awaken to the realization that those “opposite sex people” aren’t all that bad, they are just different. Shortly thereafter the question arises, “Where did all this puberty junk come from?” Sixteen years old doesn’t get any easier. Driving, dating, kissing, acne….and who is this dude named “F.I.C.A.” who keeps taking money out of my paycheck? And life goes on…and on…and on.
The process of learning and changing is an essential part of life’s gifts. If a positive outlook regarding change and learning are kept in the front of our minds we will look forward to the experience. At the very least we won’t be surprised by the changing events or the process of discovery that is all around us. A famous man named Henry Ford once said; “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
I wonder how some of us are doing with that “change” and “learning” thing? I wonder whether we are embracing the newness of life’s possibilities or hiding from them? The old saying goes: “The only thing that is guaranteed not to change is change itself”. God sure seems to know our human tendencies, doesn’t he? Our Creator knows that us humans would rather hide from change than embrace it. God knows that we foolishly try to lie to ourselves everyday about who we are…why we are…and where we should be going. The innate challenge in human transformation lies not in God’s knowledge of us, but rather us human-folk never seem to honestly reflect openly and sincerely about the nature of who we are, what we are called to be, and why we are here in the first place.
During the early fifth century the great theologian Augustine told us that humanity, by its very nature, has the scales of good and bad stacked against them. His point was, even though we have plenty of goodness in us, there is even a greater amount of bad in us. This concept of the human condition could be one possible expalnation concerning the psychological component that contributes to why all of us, generation after generation, culture after culture, keep making the same errors over and over again.
Beloved, all of us are getting ready for an historic time within the life of the Christian church and we ought not be afraid of it. Let us not be afraid of breaking the mold of what seems to be normal. God clearly calls his creation to continually look into the future with eyes set upon the greatness of Divine possibilities…not the fear of human limitations. We have got to come to the deep and abiding belief that nothing is impossible for God, even transforming our human minds, hearts and souls.
All believers must learn to embrace and enthusiastically expect transformation. We are called to urgently and intentionally grow beyond what we may know and accept as the normal parts of daily existance. We are called to jump into the “deep end of the spiritual pool” when we affirm everyday of our Christian lives that we now “faithfully rest” in the hands of the Divine where the fear of change is met with gentle security.
If we can just continue in this divine understanding we’ll be just fine. Peace.