June 22, 2004

Out of step with God

During one graduation ceremony, one mother remarked while watching the processional of graduates marching with the cadets of the school's military training program, "those cadets are incompetent, they can't even march in step with my son." Of course, the mother could have been correct--that the cadets (all of them) were so incompetent that they could not even march in step with her son; but then, the mother could be also have been way, way off the mark--that it was her son who could not keep in step with the cadets.

Its often that way in our walk with God.

We are often out of step with God but we often fail to see this even as we insist that God has left us, deserted us, failed to keep in step with us. When we have our own plans, our own dreams, our own aspirations, our own hopes and our own missions, its difficult to walk in step with someone whom we know has the power and the authority to simply change all of these. We refuse to be in step with our God because, at the back of our mind and deep in our heart, we know that walking in step with God may cause these plans, aspirations, hopes and dreams to change--and we are often unprepared or unwilling to accept this.

Worst, we sometimes deliberately refuse to keep in step with God during our happiest moments. At the times of our greatest triumphs, God becomes an afterthought--a punctuation mark at the end of a primal scream of victory over adversity, rather than a chant of praise. When we are at our highest peak, we rush ahead of God--forgetting all that He has planned for us, forgetting His words, forgetting His works, forgetting Him who has allowed us to scale the peak and claim our victories.

So, we would rather say that God fails to keep in step with us; that He has deserted us whenever we are at our lowest; that He fails to answer our prayers when frustration overtakes us; that He is absent or sleeping when nothing in our life seems to work. And at the times of our greatest triumphs, we would rather go ahead of God, because everything in our life seems to fall in place at that moment and God becomes a millstone around our necks that weighs us down in our pursuit of our hopes, dreams, and aspirations. And then we fall. . . and then we go back to God failing to keep step with us, deserting us, leaving us and being absent in our lives.

Yet, the truth remains true that at no point is God closer to us, more intimate to us, more real to us, more one with us than when we are at the extremes of our lives--the lowest valleys and the highest peaks.

When fear, frustration, depression and despair walk us to the edge of hopelessness, there we find that God has been with us all this time; that He has even gone before us; that He is already there waiting to rein us in, hold us back from taking that irrevocable step towards hopelessness and keep us with Him in His love.

When giddiness, excitement, passion overwhelm our capacity to comprehend and submit to God's plan for us, we discover that God is with us all this time; that He continues to keep in step with us with gentle--and sometimes not so gentle--reminders to keep us in check and to keep us real. All because of His great love for us.

The paths to God's heart lie not in the straight roads but in the many crooked paths that lead ultimately to Him. And it is because of these many crooked paths that we are often petrified, hesitant, unwilling and even resistant to keep in step with Him. Yet, ultimately, fear and doubt must wither and fade in our hearts in the face of His constant reminder and exhortation, "It is I, do not fear. Come." His great love for us has been tested and shown to be true and is constantly being tested and being shown to be true in our every day lives. The faithfulness of our God is beyond question and His love beyond measure. Why then do we still hesitate, refuse, or simply not keep in step with our God in our walk to Heaven?

No comments: