Took a while to pass my driving test. By the time I did, I was enjoying driving – the freedom of being able to take the machine wherever you wanted to, and the joy of being able to control it fluently.
Then we were offered a caravan by good friends of ours who needed shot of it to buy a bigger care for their growing family. OK. The Cabanon tent looked forward to retirement, and the car was fitted with a towbar.
But oh dear! Reversing with a caravan. Whatever your well developed instinct tells you to do is precisely wrong. It doesn’t understand, and as the frustration grows, it’s everybody else’s fault. The ideal way to finish a long car journey – a fight with yourself projected onto others.
Eventually, with the patience of others, you allow the new instincts to develop, and reversing the caravan is just as simple as reversing the car.
Being attached to God – and there’s no way round it, that is the essence of the Christian life – does mean the stages of discomfort and frustration, before the release into the fluency of new life, new fruit – God given righteousness. A release of grace, not an achievement of the will, so you can’t boast about it. And then on to learn more of what the Holy Spirit is leading you into.
There are times to reflect on the changes God has made in our lives, the fruit we share with others; and there’s also the pressing on to respond to the challenges of new circumstances, to discover new ways of fruitfulness.
I wouldn’t have learned the skills I acquired on my own. You need direction, guidance, other people’s faith in you, and hope and patience in yourself. Being attached to each other – that’s the church militant, active as God’s arrived and coming Kingdom.