I want to take the long view. I believe in it. I think about it. I preach it. I preached about it this Sunday. I talked about how we just can’t quit. We can’t accurately evaluate our current condition with any degree of assurance. It would be a like a second-grader quitting school. He’s heard the economy stinks, that calculus won’t be useful and that the standards are all slipping any way. So he’s out.
After you thought this was crazy and weird and he’s been listening to his older brother too much – you’d say, “You can’t quit!” He needs to trust the process. He’s looked too far ahead, gotten too pessimistic and imported too much trouble. And he’s just wrong. Subtraction is worth it. Verbs matter. Disputes with his desk mate can be worked out.
I know this. But I don’t follow it. I often feel hopeless. I want people to change and change faster. I want people to choose City Pres without reservation and to start tithing right away. I want them to tell stories of rescue right off the bat. I want to grow and I want to deepen. I want marriages to be transformed. I want adult baptisms. I want deep conversations and to sing We Shall Overcome and mean it. I want diversity. I want volunteers who clamor for more to do. I want everyone to like me, but I want to be able to disappoint people.
Erg. I want people to be free to be crazy and weird and broken – and I don’t like crazy weird broken people. I’m always telling people to chill out and trust the process, but I most often don’t believe in it myself.
Sanctification is a difficult thing. Old Doug is so strong. He seems very very powerful. Self-righteous, arrogant, judgmental, condescending, mean-spirited, privileged.
But New Doug can show himself in weakness, tears and repentance. You may not have seen him as often as you should have, but I hope sometimes you can. Christ in me, the hope of glory. He is transforming. He is loving this wicked sinner, this mean pastor.
And he’s telling me to take the really really long view – the view that says all things will work out and be for the good, for his glory, for his shalom. All will be set right. All will be made new. That second grader will grow up in more fullness than he ever could have imagined. So I can take the short view and rest in Christ that it’s not all up to me or how good I’m doing. He’s doing good and I can remember and rest in his goodness.