The university where my one son attends recently published a book of letters. Alumni spanning 60 years wrote to their freshmen self. I loved it. It was filled with all kinds of wisdom, guidance and humor. It reminded me of when periodically, a well-known talk-show host would ask her guests what do you wish you knew then that you know now? What would you tell your __ (fill in the age) year-old self now that you are older? These answers were always more interesting to me than what blockbuster movie the guest was in that year.
With that in mind I reached out to some friends and asked: What do you know now that you wish you knew sooner in your faith journey? What do you wish someone shared with you sooner? The respondents spanned the continuum from brand new believer to believers who have been on their faith journey 60 plus years. They included those who believed as children and those who were adults when they first believed.
In reading through the responses it was clear that our individual faith journeys are as unique as we are; no two are the same. However, a common theme that came through was the importance of relationships.
Relationship is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the relation connecting or binding participants.” Relation defined as “an aspect or quality that connects two or more things or parts as being or belonging or working together or as being of the same kind.”
In our faith journey it is all about our relationships: our relationship with God, His Word, His Son, the Holy Spirit, and even our relationship with our own self as well as with other believers.
Relationships aren’t always easy. They require intentionality and work. Sometimes they are slow to grow and develop. To expect anything different is setting yourself up to be frustrated and disappointed. Relationships have highs and lows, ups and downs. Like our faith journey, our relationships are rarely, if ever, smooth and constant, often riddled with obstacles along the way. They include questions and doubts as well as amazing joy and peace. By knowing and expecting there will be knocks along the way, hopefully, we may be comforted, and it will make it easier to be patient, not only with God but with ourselves.
Luckily, God loves us and is always with us. He grows us through prayer, spending time in His Word, as well as other people in our lives. We can have faith in the fact that He has it all figured out even if sometimes we don’t.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)