Stretching for More
‘We are becoming persons. You are not who you will be. I am not, by the grace of God, who I will be.’ Leanne Payne
Pity the man who stops becoming who God created him to be!
As I reflect upon the joys of grandparenting, I recall the early days of my relationship with Annette and how easy it might have been to refuse her gift on account of my perceived deficiencies. She invited me to flex some unused muscle; secure in my ‘gay’ defense, insecure in manly confidence, I confused her.
God is faithful. I knew I was made for more so I stretched and kept reaching for her til I discovered her, like Ransom in Lewis’ Perelandra who upon seeing human beauty and order for the first time cried out: ‘Do not move away…I have never before seen a man or woman. I have lived my life among shadows and broken images.’
I am glad I aspired to discover Annette. I became a man in our becoming one. Through this call to marriage, I learned to fight off sloth—that dark familiar blanket that cobbles a self and dismal future from disappointments. Cancerous-comfort-sloth—it fits like a glove around the mopey self and reminds one constantly that light beyond the low ceiling is illusion.
Sloth is dangerous because it persuades us that Jesus’ triumph over sin and disorder, however true, can’t touch ours. Rather, we won’t offer ourselves again to Him. Too hard. Sloth guards us from another disappointment.
Sloth is arrogance. It elevates one’s experience over Almighty Mercy. It declares: ‘What I perceive is final—I am helpless and hopeless in my sorry state.’ Yet how humble is the one who catches a glimpse of more and who aspires to it like a child who wants a second helping of ice cream after a diet of oatmeal?
I rejoiced with a brother who after a long pursuit of healing cracked to behold the love of the Father. He could not believe it—’this God loves me and wants me!’ He knew upon tasting a little that a banquet awaited him but that its revelation might unfold in fits and starts, like the blindman whose healing began with a vision of ‘trees walking.’ He perseveres to this day. I caught sight of him at church the other day, expectant and beaming.
He is reaching for more. I urge you: in one hand, take up your sword (the Word of Jesus’ hope) and slice up sloth, and in the other hand, reach for more. Confess the presumption that you know better than God and avail your whole being to what He has in store for you. You have yet to probe the height and depth of His marvelous love for you.