The must frustrated Christians I know are those who compare themselves to perfection every day. Whether it’s the perfect circumstances they seek or the perfect behavior they feel God demands, they constantly fall short of their own expectations and either get angry with themselves for not doing enough, or with God for not making their life the way they think it should be. I lived in that land of futility for many years.
The most contented Christians I know are those that recognize God is good and gracious, that life in a broken world is often filled with failure and pain, and that each day is part of a larger process drawing them ever-closer to the orbit of the Father’s love and glory. Their goal is not perfection on any day, but to find ways to embrace a loving Father in the midst of their hopes and disappointments, their joys and their challenges, and struggles and their successes.
In short, they are not focused on the product they think they should be, but on the process that draws them ever onward in their desire to know him and bear his glory in the world. These thoughts were triggered by a quote that a friend sent me a couple of days ago from a former priest who lived in Germany over five hundred years ago.
“This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming… We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”
I love that.
Enjoy the process of God at work in you, to will and to do of his good pleasure, rather than frustrate that you are not yet the product you wish to be. It’s the journey with him, rather than the destination that’s important. Rest in knowing that God has a way to walk you through what you’re facing today and in the process shape you to be more freely his. Pain doesn’t confirm his absence. Unanswered questions doesn’t mean he is silent. And unresolved circumstances are not proof of his inactivity.
He is at work in you and around you and though you may not see the outward evidence you want so desperately to see today, his glory is being worked in you. You’ll see it more clearly down the road, but it won’t help much to fret about it today.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18