It’s all the little details that take time isn’t it? Moving house was not, on the grand scale of things, too traumatic an event. Strong men moved our belongings into a big lorry, drove the lorry to a new house, and then unloaded our belongings into the new house from the big lorry.
Of course we still had to unload all of the boxes and find homes for everything (and remember where we put things). Opening the boxes was a little bit like playing hide and seek with our possessions as we didn’t know exactly which box contained what items. But even that was big picture activity.
Since then we keep uncovering little bits and pieces that we need to do/change/restart/start related to our new location. Who knew that there were so many different and disparate organisations that needed to be informed of a change of address? And who knew how many of them will charge us for the privilege of changing our details (harrumph, harrumph, harrumph)? Who knew how many old documents needed shredding and new ones need filing in their place? And on top of that we have had to find new window cleaners, remember a different day for refuse and recycling collections, find out where the local shops are (and work out what you can and can’t buy in them), and find a local church in which to settle.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m not saying we have a tough life. Not at all. We feel so blessed. All I am observing is that there are so many little things that need sorting out even after we’ve sorted out the big things. And I think it’s the same with my faith. To me the big picture is fairly clear: God loves me and wants to have a relationship with me, I have stuffed up and wrecked our relationship, God has sorted it out through Jesus. Now I know that theology is an awful lot more nuanced than that but if the best I can manage on Monday morning.
But the little things keep needing to be sorted out. I constantly need to keep a short account with God – asking for forgiveness and a fresh start on a daily basis. I need to remember to spend quality time with him on a daily basis. Reading and understanding my Bible isn’t always easy. Praying doesn’t always come naturally. Forgiving other people as I have been forgiven isn’t easy sometimes. Accepting God’s will isn’t always comfortable. Listening to God is not always easy when there are lots of other “noises” (literal and metaphorical) that drown him out. Trying to see things how Jesus sees them and respond how he would respond is tricky. And it’s not even 10 o’clock yet!
It would be easy to get despondent about all this but two things give me hope. One of them is God’s indomitable unlimited lavishly poured out grace. God is so gracious and patient with me. Even if I let him down for the hundredth time in a day his grace is more than sufficient for me to come back, ask for forgiveness and a fresh start and receive them from him. The other is that he has given us his Spirit to help us. On our own it would be impossible for us to live in a way that honours God we serve and seeks to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. It would be easier for me to lift myself off the ground and stay floating in midair (without the aid of any magical props!). But God’s spirit is constantly nudging, encouraging, inspiring, speaking, enhancing, cultivating fruit, giving gifts, surprising, blessing, and being just like Jesus in us and with us and through us.
Without both of these my Christian faith is simply a set of rules and guidelines and principles for living (and failing). But with them it is a vibrant, living relationship with God Almighty: by no means a relationship of equals but, as I have said, God’s grace is sufficient for me – and you. Even for the little things as well as the big ones.
Perhaps especially so.
Be blessed, be a blessing