How often do we Christians feel stuck, in church, at home, and in life? We can't seem to go forward. We're stuck in place, not satisfied with our faith or our vocations. We pray for renewed excitement, a new way of seeing things, and something that helps us find our true path. We buckle down, take inventory, and develop a plan to move forward. But, no matter how much we pray, no matter how well thought out the plan, we're stuck.
The reason for this is because we imagine God is waiting for us to get to him. He's the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. He's the wizard at Oz. We prefer to think he's the divine nudge that gets us moving upwards and onwards toward the heavenly reward that's waiting for us at the end of our spiritual journey.
But, there is no journey. There's no path. We haven't done anything with the knowledge God's given to us except misuse and twist it to our own destruction. He doesn't nudge us. There's no action we need undertake to impress upon our Creator that we'll eventually get to him. That's the tragedy of our life. We selfishly believe we need to go to God before anything will change. We foolishly imagine that if we don't make the first move, God won't even notice us.
We write to-do lists. We come up with plans. Whatever pops into our heads, we think God will be impressed. We constantly come up with bigger, stronger, faster ways to improve the church, our communities, and the world because we know, that's what God wants from us; that we do more, better.
We're creatures in search of creative inspiration that we hope will impress the Creator. We pray for "ah-ha" moments so we can make an impression on the source of all revelation. We draw up plans for a better church, family, and society because we believe that's how we'll get the attention of the One who speaks all things into existence. We do all this to unlock what we don't have and don't possess. We want God's attention. More than that, we want to enjoy a God-protected life of pleasure and privilege, free from struggle and hurt. We want divine advice, spiritual prompts, and guidance we can see and touch.
What we don't want is for God to take the first step toward us. Specifically, we don't want God coming to take our choices away. We want freedom, so long as it's surrounded by a divine forcefield. Free choice without consequence or responsibility. We want a God that's close, but not too close. A divine force or energy that's real, but not in our face. The most high and holy I AM, but without the virgin birth, suffering, death, and resurrection. A god who does not locate himself for us in a specific place, at a specific time, giving himself and his benefits to us through specific means.
When we pray and hope for more of what we can do, we've already turned our backs on the God who's revealed himself to us as the man, Jesus of Nazareth. We've been given his gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation. Our God gives us all his creation, all his works, and all his saving gifts because it's impossible for us to even imagine, let alone enact, what's necessary for our faith, vocations, and life.
God has already acted for us. He's been doing it since before the foundation fo the world, when he chose us in Christ, laid out our works, and wrote our names in the Book of Life. Whatever of our past and future that pertains to the present, it's all embraced by the Christ in whom we live, and move, and have our being.
We don't have to search for our path, because the Way seeks and finds us. The Truth reveals that what we do with our knowledge of God is an exercise in self-deception. Our life isn't a what, it's a who. Our Life is Jesus, the Word of God born flesh and blood, who takes away the sin of the world... "because where there is forgiveness of sin, there is also life and eternal salvation."
So we are stuck in Life, just not the life we imagine for ourselves. We don't have to worry about making progress towards God because he's already come to us, named us as his own, and promises to never leave or forsake us. We don't have to pray and hope for renewed excitement, a new way of seeing things, or something that helps us find our true path. None of that is necessary because we've been named and claimed by God through our baptism in Jesus' name.
We're not spiritual seekers, climbing always upwards and onwards towards God. We're children of our heavenly Father. We're justified by grace, through faith, in Christ Jesus. We're stuck with Jesus as our Savior, and that's a good place to get stuck.