I’ll start with this: Our goal as Christians is intimacy with Jesus. You can describe that with different words, but since Jesus is the only way God has given us for salvation (John 14:6), the goal is getting closer to Him. “I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father” (John 10:14).
Do we know ourselves in relation to Him or as a product of our circumstances? Jeff Cloeter, a pastor in suburban St. Louis, has written “Loved & Sent.” He shares his anxiety about going to a new high school. “They say that where you’re from is part of who you are. What happens when you’re not from anywhere? I departed my small boyhood town with a class of 30. I arrived in central Minnesota to a class of hundreds. I knew no one. I left everything that made me me. Who am I now?” (65-66).
Think about the events that made you. Your childhood, military service, college, marriage, health, sickness, successes and failures… I always get reflective when seminarians remind me that my experiences are not the experiences of their generation. Seeing divine purpose in change is key, be that going to a new high school, like Cloeter, or for us, finding ourselves in new times and new challenges. God uses change to draw us closer to Himself. Some people try to make their experiences normative for others, especially for younger people, but that’s destined to fail. “We fly forgotten as the dream dies at the op’ning day.” Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever, uses anxious times to draw us closer to His voice. “Lord, to whom shall we go?” (John 6:68).
P.S. Diane and I will take a week off from the Minute. We’ll be back next Wednesday, Ash Wednesday.