My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4 NIV
There’s a meme circulating the internets with a picture of a man praying and it says this: “Bless me with patience…Not opportunities to be patient, I’ve had plenty of those and they don’t seem to be working. The actual patience…”
It’s funny because it’s true; we all find ourselves in the midst of struggles and trials that push us to the outer limits of our sanity, and we just want to be done with those periods of testing. We want a moment to chill, to sit back, and relax! But there is a danger of becoming ineffectual if we stay in one place for too long. If we never leave our comfort zones, we will never have the chance to grow, and we may be missing out on doing the things God calls us to do. We don’t want to get messy, chaotic, or leave the box. However, it is the moving, getting dirty, and action that produces the fruit we are looking for; whether it be patience or some other spirit-given fruit, or a sense of purpose in our commission as Christians.
I was thinking about Newton’s First Law of Motion which states that an object will remain in it’s current state of being unless acted upon by an external force. That means if a bowling ball is still and not moving, it won’t move by itself. It can’t will itself to go anywhere, nor can it create the energy necessary to begin a trajectory. It says grounded and motionless unless someone comes along and bumps it, pushes it, or throws it down the lane.
We can become that static bowling ball with latent potential. We find little purpose just sitting on a shelf. But the moment someone comes along, removes us from our perch and gives us a little force, we find ourselves flying down the bowling ball lane preparing to crash into some pins. That’s what we’re supposed to do! However, we don’t fulfill that purpose without being moved, thrown around, or crashing around a bit. It would be silly, though, to listen to a bowling ball complain, “Someone took me off the shelf where I was comfortably resting! And then they swung me around and banged me on the ground until I was haphazardly flying until I got banged up and bruised by all these pins!” Now, from a bowling ball’s perspective I’m not saying it’s fun to go through what it goes through to reach its destination but it’s necessary for him to do what he was made to do.
What could we accomplish as followers of Christ if we let the Holy Spirit treat us like a bowling ball? What could we advance for the Kingdom of God if we allowed ourselves to be put in the hands of the One who created the game, the players, and pieces and gave him permission to do with us what He wills? What would our game look like if we did not resist or backtalk when when He jostles us, spins us, presses us, and tosses us about? What are the pins he’s throwing us toward that we’re supposed to be affecting? Are they lost souls, the poor and oppressed, or the also-still believers that need motion in their lives?
My prayer today is that I would resist comfort and status quo, and that I would invite the Holy Spirit to move me as He sees fit to get me to the destination He wants me to go. I trust Him to use me effectively to create the change this world needs to see to make it look more like Heaven.