Coming to Grips with God’s Timing
Change and growth are an inevitable part of our faith journey. As we move through our life, and hopefully move closer to God in the process, there is an amazingly intricate dance that we do with God. There is no doubt that God has a purpose for our life. There are things that we are created to accomplish. There are certain lessons that we need to learn to accomplish them. There are hurts that need to be healed and there are experiences that have to be overcome. At the same time, God will not run roughshod over our free will. God’s purpose for our life doesn’t negate our free will. The result is that our life, our growth in grace and faith and our faithful and effective service aren’t likely to follow a seamless trajectory; hence the image of the dance.
The challenge for our perception is that we don’t always learn things, get the healing or overcome previous experience in a logical order. In these past several months of near vertical learning curve I’ve had experiences of growth in which I’ve asked the hypothetical question: “Why didn’t I learn this before?” or, “Why am I only learning this now?” It didn’t take long before I came to grips with the truth that for one reason or another, I simply wasn’t ready…small consolation, but I’m learning to deal with it.
After the learning that I experienced two weeks ago with regard to my family of origin issues (a story dealt with in my previous posting) and particularly the healing that came as a result of it, I never articulated it fully, but the question of why I was only learning these things about my life and family now lingered just below the surface. While I wasn’t actively seeking the answer, God offered me a gift. This is my journal entry from the very next day. While it won’t be customary to share my journal with the world, I share these two entries (my previous posting and now this one) because I wanted to share the immediacy of the experience. Both of these entries were written while in the throws of what for me were profound experiences of grace.
February 15, 2007
I thought that today would be a pretty mellow day. Yesterday was so eventful, so inspiring, so cathartic and so exhausting. It felt like the first truly healthy day that I had ever lived. It was the first day that I felt free of the oppressive influence of my dad. It scared the crap out of me to feel so vulnerable, but I could feel the presence of God sustaining me.
Then comes this morning’s input session and a brief consideration of the topic of Wesleyan Spirituality. As I read and heard the familiar words of Wesley’s inspiration, I could feel the Spirit’s movement and power stir deep within my soul and my experience. I began to imagine a road stretched out before me. The truths that my practice and belief have taught me have given me a framework and have been a means of God’s sustaining grace. The came the question that drew me into silence: who are you indebted to?
I began to think of all the people that have taught me, supported me, sustained me and guided me on the path, even to this day. I reflected on the fruit that, by God’s grace alone, my life and ministry have born. I lamented the ways that my life and ministry were compromised by the narcissism that I engaged in. I began to imagine the choking off of possibilities by the fear, the approval seeking and the move toward unhealthy self-protection. Into this awareness the Spirit thrust the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. There was an immediate, physiological response that was profound. It took my breath away! I realized that yesterday was harvest time. The weeds that were sown in my earliest days and could not be removed without doing damage to the plant could now be safely pulled and thrown into the fire! This image was powerful and altered my perception, but for several minutes I remained out of breath. I wasn’t scared, per se, but it did have my attention. When I reached the destination where I had intended to write and reflect, a hymn came to me…"Breathe of my breath of God, fill me with life anew. That I may love what thou wouldst love and do what thou wouldst do.” Indeed, grace is my constant companion…a dept that God freely carries in order for me to be the person that God created me to be. My breath was restored. My life is restored.