The Bible teaches that spiritual growth, change and new life are possible. However, this change is rarely quick or easy.
I am certain this desire for change comes from a deep yearning within to go home, to feel safe, to be known. The main character in Pat Conroy’s novel, Beach Music says, “I could not quiet that pearly ache in my heart that I diagnosed as the cry of home.”
We want a life that matters. We want to know God and be known by God. Finally, we want to know that we can be at home with God.
I remember one year at summer church camp there was a 16-year-old boy who was the camp clown. His name was Bobby. He made fun of everything and, to my great frustration, everyone. He could make the 100 kids in camp laugh their heads off and he could also viciously cut anyone down to size. He was loved and feared. He walked out of our evening campfire a couple of times. I asked him about walking out. “It’s too corny at campfire; all that crying and stuff. Too preachy too.”
At the closing campfire he got up in front of the group. We had talked that day about becoming the person God created us to be; to risk being a Christian, a person who loved God and loved neighbor, period. At campfire he said, with tears streaming down his face, “I’ve never been more at home than I am here. I am sorry for being mean. I was afraid at the beginning of the camp that no one would like me so I was just mean. But this week I’ve been challenged to grow up, to be kind. For the first time that I can remember, I feel like I’ve finally found a home.”
What Bobby did was a risky thing. He took a chance to begin to change his behavior and to confess his desire to do so in front of his peers. Risk is a common element in the spiritual life.
John the Baptist, preparing the people for Jesus, preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” That word repent has a ton of baggage attached to it but at its core it simply means turn around.
The beginning of spiritual growth and transformational change often starts with a simple choice to turn around, to begin again, to thus far and no further. Go ahead and give it a try. I have it on good authority: God allows U-turns.
Grace and peace to you,