Quartz Hill School of Theology

Lessons Learned

Dennis Moyers

       My three year old daughter was grunting, groaning, and sighing as she pushed open the car door the other day. She struggled across the curb -- a huge chasm to her -- and scrambled onto the lawn. With more huffing and puffing, she shut the door, then turned and sprinted up the slope of a big hill (a small dirt mound). She finally caught my hand and proudly beamed, "I can do that all by myself because I'm a big girl!"
       In her tiny exertions, God granted me a peek into the nature of human struggle. What were very simple tasks to me were enormous obstacles that my daughter took as immense accomplishments. From my perspective, she was putting on a good show of working hard at doing very little. From her perspective, barely three feet tall and all of thirty-four pounds, her efforts and achievements were tremendous. She put her entire weight into jobs that I could do with the flick of a wrist.
       She lacks my abilities, though she is as much a human being as me. I have grown up physically to the point where these major hurdles in life are but a small part of everyday things that I handle without even thinking. I remembered this while talking to a new believer in Sunday School the other day, who was bemoaning the uncertainties and tribulations of life. I couldn't help but think about the "show" that my daughter had put on, and it reminded me of the first times that I had tried to put the truths of Christianity to work in my own life:

Trust in the Lord and he will make your paths straight." (I hadn't even known they were crooked!)
"Abide in me and I will abide in you." (What is all this abiding business and how do you do it?)
"Come unto me, for my labor is easy, and my burden is light." (That's what you think!)
"...by the renewing of your mind...You will be able to test God's will..." (Test God? Isn't that a bit presumptuous?)
"Show me your faith and I will show you my faith by what I do..." (I don't know what I believe, much less if it is doing me or anybody else any good!)

       Some things we can do right away, but others, like tying our shoes, take a little longer. Some of us catch on really fast, but some of us struggle with each new concept, sometimes for years. All too often, those who catch on quicker than us are up in front calling us names, and impatiently running on. Then we become discouraged and wonder why we even bother trying, especially when our friends finally dump us because we aren't moving fast enough to suit them. We get bitter: "Well Mr. or Ms. high and mighty, who do you think you are to go and judge me like that?! Your life isn't so perfect, you know."
       This also is normal.
       This is when it is important to remember that we are saved by grace: God's unmerited favor. God wanted us and came looking for us. All we did when he came and presented himself to us was to say, "Yes, God, I want you too."
       So why do we get so concerned when somebody isn't living up to our standards? If his or her heart is in the right place, if he or she wants to know God more intimately, and if we are praying for them (OOPS), then why can't we just stand back and let God straighten them out? After all, he loves them a whole lot more than we do, in our self-righteousness.
       When we don't earnestly pray for others when they do something we disapprove of, then what right do we have bad-mouthing their behavior (have you checked yours lately)? If they have asked us to help them in their growth then we need to give it to them, but when it is not solicited, it might be best if we butted out and just prayed. If we prayed more and talked less, more problems might be solved.
       But how much more often are we like Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby, plopping in with both feet where we had no business going in the first place, so we end up getting trapped, but we're too proud to back out? Why do we do these things? Why is it that most of the time we're like little kids on the play ground with each other? "Nanny nanny poo poo, I can do better than you--oo!"
       We serve a just God and he will take care of his own; the ill-behaved youngsters are his children, not ours. When we open our mouths and start spouting off about the things that we have worked out with God for our lives and then try to force them upon someone else, we are acting as judge, jury, and executioner. Each of us must "work out his own salvation with fear and trembling before God." Each of us has a unique role to play; most of us must travel some very thorny paths to get to the place that God wants us to be. Usually we suffer because of our own stubbornness, but if we look at the tough times as growth spurts, then perhaps we can come out stronger in the end.
       Then we can feel pride like my little daughter overcoming the obstacles of her life: proud, not because we think we're better than anyone else, but proud because God has worked out these things in order to grow us into the creatures that he wants us to be.

Contact Details

Telephone: (661) 722-0891
Email: info@theology.edu
Website: www.theology.edu

Quartz Hill School of Theology
43543 51st Street West
Quartz Hill, CA 93536

Join our Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter for all the
latest news and information