When I was a kid, I remember being asked to ponder a question that was frequently posed in sermons, youth meetings, Sunday school and a host of other church environments. The question went something like this:
"How's your Christian walk?"
In the faith communities of my youth, that was church-y language for "Are you living up to the standards? Are you keeping the rules and regulations? Are you checking all the things on the checklist?"
But at some point in those early years of trying to follow Jesus, I realized that my "walk" had become more of a "trudge." I was trudging along after what I thought was a Jesus path, but found I was barely able to pick up my feet.
Oswald Chambers once wrote:
"It's difficult to get into stride with God, because as soon as we start walking with Him we find that His pace has surpassed us before we have taken three steps..."It took many years and more than one crisis of faith, but I finally came to understand something so revolutionary, so amazing that it forever transformed my relationship with Jesus, and my journey of following after him.
I realized that I wasn't walking with Jesus. I wasn't even walking behind Jesus. In fact, none of us are. But I did realize I was stumbling after Jesus. And sometimes in my stumbling after Jesus, I take a spill and fall flat on my face. Sometimes I feel like I am running, but with two left feet.
But it always feels like stumbling.
At this point in my life if/when I am asked, "How's your Christian walk?" I answer: "I'm stumbling after Jesus, and I hope beyond hope I am stumbling in the right direction."
May you give up the dehumanizing and demoralizing belief that you can somehow match Jesus stride for stride, and may you stumble after Jesus with all the fierce, desperate, wild abandon you can muster.
And when you inevitably fall flat on your face in the road, know that it will be Jesus' hand reaching back to bring you to your feet once again.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.