2.17.2008

Bigger World, Bigger God

In the past couple of years, I've had the fortune of having some very significant conversations with two good Christian friends of mine who have each suffered great personal losses in their lives.  Whether me being available to them was helpful to them or not, I do not know; but I do know that they imparted a great weight of wisdom on me in their words.  As each in their own way put it, prior to their tragedies, their world view wasn't big enough to include a good God with such a grave loss.  Their loss, accompanied by time and friends and healing, impelled that world view outward until they were able to reconcile the goodness of God with the terribleness of their loss.  And while they still felt that loss, they also felt a great sense of gain, a gain in the bigness of their world and of their God.

While my losses do not begin to rival my  two friends', I've had my share of bumps and bruises.  Plus, I am aging in every way: I am past my prime physically, I don't bounce back as easily from a late night, and I literally have forgotten more than I can remember. 

And with that comes a fork in the road for the person of faith.  We can chalk our earlier, hot years to youthful exuberance and naive idealism, and settle in for a more wisened but really just lukewarm walk with God.  We can try to keep the fire stoked, but really just act as though we are 25 and not 35, in ways that deny the unique things God has for us through the weaknesses and perspectives of our older selves. 

Or we can, by God's grace, age well.  Whether the slow numbing of growing old or the sharp pangs of the sorts of tragedies faced by my two friends, things happen which must necessarily be reconciled with our former understanding of God and His world.  To age well is to be humble enough to give room to grow our perspective of Him, to not jam God into our box but rather let Him reshape the boundaries of that box. 

When I'm 45, my back and knees will hurt even more than they do now, I'll have even less free time and money, and less years on this earth to finish all I want to do.  And, if I age well, I'll be wiser and calmer, and yet no less vigorous, no less allocated, towards God's ways.  I pray so. 
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