I was walking in our backyard over the weekend and came across a curious sight. Several years ago a sapling must tree must have grown in such a way that its leading branch grew through our chain link fence–specifically between the chain links and the metal frame that holds it erect. The tree didn’t stop growing. Instead as it grew the metal cut into the trunk producing a tree with a metal strand embedded in it.
This is a powerful image of what happens to many Christians as they face key transitions in life. In my work as a campus minister I often observe the difficulty some students face in making the jump from undergraduate life to graduate study and from graduate school to professional practice.
The fresh opportunities and, more often, the fresh challenges can cut into a Christian world and life view (borrowing that term from Abraham Kuyper) that is not sufficiently developed to handle them.
Failing to attend to this often leads to significant challenges for Christians:
- Leaving the church because the connection between Sunday and Monday is too tenuous
- Leaving law school because the practice of law only ever seems to reach a proximate justice rather than full justice
- Experiencing life in the absence of any sense that God cares about or values your work
- Feeling the unrelenting pressure to perform and carrying that view into your relationship with God and gradually losing sight of the hope of the Gospel
- Growing to resent God because of the great suffering seen in the lives of clients, patients, parishioners, or students
How are you preparing for the next stage of your personal or professional journey?
Are you making sure that you’re world and life view is growing, changing, deepening, and developing so that it is sufficient to aid you in faithfully following Christ?