Romans 8:18-19 (New International Version)
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
I've been thinking about tension of a particular sort over the past couple of days--the tension caused by the gap between what is and what we wish was, or what we think ought to be. Like most other people I suspect, I haven't always handled the gap well.
We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people and we are part of the equation. We are prone to forget that when filled with disappointment, frustration and criticism.
We shouldn't be surprised at the gap--rather we should accept the fact that it will be there--usually it would be more surprising if it wasn't. Accepting this fact isn't the same as accepting the status quo.
Discerning what is and what isn't within our realm of responsibility and control is a tension reducer. The moment the lines get blurry, things get harder.
Determining what I can do to make a productive difference in any situation is another good thing. I'm the only one I have any real control over.
Celebrating what is working right about a situation--counting the blessings in it, is helpful. Usually there is so much good and it far outweighs the bad.
Take any church for example. As I was leading worship this morning in my own church, I looked out at the faces of my church family and thought of the challenge, from an organizational perspective, of steering the ship of the church. We are a hundred and fifty or so different personalities, from different backgrounds, with different strengths and weaknesses, passions and peculiarities. I thought of the challenge of leading a church. The wonder is that we do as well as we do. Yes, we have to do better, but still, given what God has to work with--us--we have much to celebrate in how much we love and care for one another, how many of us are actively involved (over 60% I'd guess) and the fertile ground for growth and ministry that exists.
We are, I think, at a critical point--of growth--and of outreach to the community that lies beyond our doors. As we grow and more families are joined to our band of ragamuffins, we can be sure that along the way there will be tension in how we respond to the needs people bring with them and how smoothly we flow as a family. How we handle "the gap" will be critical--because "the gap" will always be there. Maybe one of the most important things we can do is to plan to how we're going to handle it.
Romans 8:28-30 (New International Version)
More Than Conquerors 28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.