Don’t Sweat the Growth

By Kerwin Holmes, Jr.

 

All throughout the Bible there is this trope of maturity.  When Adam, male and female, were created by God, they were made mature man and woman already.  They were both capable of living on Earth without adult supervision, and by their understanding they were given authority to name the animals, to cultivate the Earth, to take care of earthly creations, to produce the families of the world, and to enjoy their lives in complete fellowship with the Holy One.

And yet, they became too wise for their own good…or rather too foolish…professing to be wise they became fools and exchanged the glory of God for the glory of themselves…creation being the supposed usurper to the glory of the Creator.

And here we have it, life in the midst of the suffering that our All Parents caused and which we constantly produce for ourselves to our own destruction.

But wait…God has provided us a way out.

You see, all throughout the Bible we see God choosing to reveal Himself to humanity, just as He came and stood before Adam and Eve in the Garden.  God longs to fellowship with us– He longs for us to live just as He desired before.  Adam and Eve had a choice, both trees stood in the middle of the Garden next to each other surrounded by other nourishing plants and herbs: the Tree of life and the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  But they chose to covet the knowledge that only God Almighty possesses, rejecting life in the process.  And it is just as we all have done ourselves.

But the Bible is full of testimonies, and that is just what they are: testimonies, of women and men of every generation accepting God’s message and love and coming to know God and His will.  Progressively throughout their own lives, God’s attributes become more and more visibly and verily known to them.  Check it out, Enoch came so close to knowing and fellowshipping with God so much that God took him away!  Now, you may be tempted to think that because Enoch was worthy of such an honor because he such a noble character, then all of his children must have been very pious.   Well…no.  See, look at where Enoch fits in the family line of men descended from Noah in Genesis 5.  Put two and two together.  Yeah…  Every single person you see living today is a descendant of Enoch…that’s a pretty dysfunctional family if we ever see one.  And that is the recurring tragedy of the Bible.  Many men and women come to know good by knowing God, but they are always resisted by the many who refuse to know God– even from within their own families.  And truth be told– we are all one huge family.

But then the trope of family branches off into a particular family: the family of Abraham and Sarah.  And this family gets narrowed down further to the family of Isaac, their son, to the family of Jacob, Isaac’s son, to the families of Jacob’s/Israel’s 12 sons, to the family of Judah, to the family of Ruth and Boaz, to the family of Jesse, to the family of David, to the Messiah…the One by which all the promises of the family are completed (Genesis 22:18, Galatians 3:26, and Isaiah 53:10).

We even see God reveal Himself uniquely to other people who He then places in the lives of these people so that they may also come to know more about His character and nature.  Take Genesis 14 for instance.  God empowers Abraham and the men in his motley family (a family comprised of his slaves, relatives, and hired workers) to turn the tide in an international war in order to rescue his nephew Lot!  But despite what God has obviously done for Abraham to accomplish this, the kings that Abraham liberated (who ironically get their just desserts in Chapter 19refuse to honor God for their own rescue.  But…Abraham meets a Canaanite king named Melchizedek who worships El Elyon (God the Most High One).  No doubt, Abraham and Melchizedek were able to verify that they worshiped the same being, for Abraham uses the name El Elyon for the very first time after meeting Melchizedek when he resists the greed of the kings he had just rescued.

Hundreds of years later, Moses meets God and is astounded by His awesome presence.  God tells Moses that though Abraham knew God by His Name Yahweh, Abraham only personally experienced God as El Shaddai, the God who is all-powerful and Who cannot be resisted.  But for Moses and Israel, God will dwell with them continually as a sign for all nations instead of the visitations that God temporarily used with Abraham and those before Him.  Yahweh is the mysterious personal Name of God.  Eventually we get to a point where God literally walks in human flesh among us, sharing in our temptations and everyday (and often times the very third-world everyday) trials of humanity.  And when that Person leaves, God sends the Holy Spirit Himself to dwell inside of the disciples of His chosen Messiah, so that God will dwell with us forever.

This is a universal trope of growth, and all of humanity goes along for the ride in the entire Bible.  God reveals more and more of Himself to us as we grow in our knowledge of Him.  But it is not the amount of our knowledge of God that impresses Him, but rather it is our trusting in all that He has revealed to us about Himself that brings Him pleasure.  You see, the revelation of Yahweh took generations as the community of loyal believers continued to grow and mature.  And that community was not necessarily an unbroken community of familial lines.  People strong in the faith often had children who strayed from God’s path.  But new people from other families continued the faith of those who came before, and thus the community of faith remained unbroken even when the families did not.  And this community of faith was and is indeed the family that God sought out for…and in this family all of the nations of the world are being blessed by the Gospel, the testimony of God’s love for humanity and the cosmos.

Yahweh, His Name, is completely shared with all three Persons of the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…each one fully and completely Yahweh, the One True God.  But this divine revelation took thousands of years of maturity for the community of believers to be able to comprehend God’s Oneness and Uniqueness in this manner…even though we are given early glimpses of this truth even in the very beginning (look here and here, LORD is the English rendering of the Name Yahweh).

Often times, as followers of Christ, we can get a bit bogged down when we meet a brother or a sister who demonstrates more maturity or knowledge about God than we do (note the familial terms brother and sister).

Often times, we may feel like our Father in Heaven has reason to abandon us because we just don’t measure up in our own minds to God’s will.

Sometimes this momentary feeling is due to our ignorance and failures.

Sometimes this feeling is rightly due to the fact that we think that we already know too much about God’s character to learn more again…or that we are too right to be wrong about the facets of our lives.

But God calls us to become like little children.  But not just any children, God doesn’t want His Church to be an evangelical enactment of Bébé’s Kids.  God wants children who are impressionable enough to learn, inquisitive enough to ask for answers to what we do not understand, and trusting enough to allow the good character of our Father to carry us through it all…whether we end up getting exactly what we ask for or not.  Children can often tell good parents from bad ones, and even a savvy child will say that he has a good parent even if that parent does things that the child would rather not have done (like feeding them vegetables, giving bedtimes, etc.)  God has demonstrated His love for us in ways beyond our own beliefs!  So we can rest assured in His good character, as even Abraham, Rahab, and Samson were able to do, despite their not having all of the answers or even receiving all that was promised to them when they would have liked to.

And we see this same dynamic of maturity in the broad picture of humanity in the history of God and His covenant people aka the community of believers who trust in God’s character and His surety to keep His promises.

So when God puts obstacles in your life to reveal that you have learning to do, or allows trials to test your maturity, or puts you around more mature persons for you to learn from…

Don’t sweat the growth.

God bless you fam.  Dios os bendiga a todos, familia mia.

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