A couple of weeks ago, Carol and I were discussing something about our wedding. Right now, I don’t remember what it was, but I do recall that we each remembered it differently. This year, in July, we will have been married 43 years, so sometimes the details get a bit blurry. However, to prove my point, I decided to pull out the wedding pictures. And that’s when it happened.
I started looking at the young man in the pictures and I barely recognized him. The physical attributes of the man in the pictures was very different than the person he is today. Instead of a head full of white hair, he had long dark hair. Instead of wearing contact lenses, he wore glasses with a big, thick, dark frame. He had not yet suffered from the furniture disease (those of you who are older will know what I am talking about.) There were no wrinkles on his face. He wore a white tux (in those days they were very popular). As I say, I barely recognized him. Of course, the young woman standing next to him was as lovely as she could be, but not near as beautiful as she is today.
Truth is, I got so enthralled in looking at the photographs I forgot why I pulled out the pictures in the first place. So much had changed.
Strangely, it set me to thinking about my spiritual life. I started reflecting on whether my spiritual life had changed. I certainly hoped it had changed. One of the saddest sights in the world is to see people who become Christians and join the church, and 40 years later, they are still at the same place. Their spirits have not grown, nor developed, nor matured. They have not allowed the scriptures to enhance their lives. They have not allowed the Holy Spirit to shape and mold them into the person God wants them to be. They have buried in the ground the gift of new life that God has given to them.
Some questions I asked myself were, “Have I become more loving of other people? Do I still hold grudges like I did when I was young, or am I quicker to forgive? Am I more tolerant of those who see the world through a different set of lenses? Am I only comfortable around those who agree with me? Do I have more peace, trusting that God is in control and ultimately the future will lead to God? Am I more likely today to see Christ in the poor, the broken, the hurting and the hungry than I was when I was younger?” These were just some of the questions.
I have not stopped asking the questions. I confess, I am not as far along on some of the answers as I hoped I would be. I find it is a journey, but if you are willing to walk it, then in time and by God’s grace, you will change and grow into the very likeness of Christ. And when it comes right down to it, isn’t that one of our primary purposes in life?
Rev. Dan Brown