Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. Jam 1:2
Man evolves. Cool down—I am not going to fight that war today, the one you might be thinking of right now.
But man truly evolves.
Many things in the bible both speak to the individual as well as to man kind, in addition to being foreshadows and external, maybe historical events of fulfilment. Let me give you an example:
Passah historically was a foreshadow of what Christ would do for humanity, enacted in what God did for Israel when he led them out of Egypt. And it is an event in the history man kind, leading from the old covenant to the new, opening a way for man kind to come back into a relationship with God, yet also a very personal experience in the life of each believer. And there are so many more examples.
Passah, Pentecost, Feast of Tabernacles both represent church history as well as the life growth pattern of the believer.
Man and Man Kind
I deduct from that that the individual lives through pretty much the same as humanity in its totality. Again some examples:
Early man kind was mainly concerned with survival, before becoming a social and tribal being, then building hierarchies, laws, sciences, grace.
Look at an individual: babies primarily care for basic life needs, before becoming a family member, learning about pecking orders, discovering both hidden and stated rules to fit in, then adventurously conquering the world, before settling down in grace and wisdom. A life well lived.
But man does not do that just because. We all know that left on their own, children will develop very odd social skills. And man without God probably, but not necessarily will never reach a state of grace, but of bitterness, stuck in an area of rules and regulations.
What then is it that has us evolve?
Challenges and Decisions
James tells us that we are to consider challenges a sheer gift.
Man changes to survive. New phases in the history of man kind or the life of an individual call for different strategies of survival. Today, nerds survive beautifully, while we just have to go back to my youth—hey, that’s not that long ago—and I can testify that nerds were not the most admired bunch, not the cool kids on the block. Actually, they might not be even today during their young years, as teenagers are not in that phase yet. They experience tribalism, hierarchies, and laws. But as young adults, nerds rule. A new age.
Man does not change in general if not forced to. Thus God brought us into a challenging world. Facing challenges—or let’s use the non-managerial straight forward word for it: problems—puts us in positions where we have to make decisions. And those decisions make or break us.
A decision made with God has us change to a new level of glory. A decision made using godly principles is a decision made into the right direction—as many people show great evolvement without asking for God. But a decision made out of fear, to stay in the things we known, a decision against the will of God leaves us a dinosaur in the age of mammals. (Talking about evolvement, I had to throw that in.)
Most people want to go back to those golden days. Churches want to be just like the first church. Where God wants us to evolve.
We were made in God’s image, a transcendent being capable to commune with God from face to face. We are destined to be companions of God, ruling with him in eternity, sons of God, his many membered body. Made lower as God for a short while—and that implies that afterwards we will be—do I dare say it—equals, does it not?
A long way to go.
On this trajectory of challenges and decisions, God promised to be with us. Always. And to guide us, and finally guide us into all truth. And he is there.
He decided to be within us, as we have his Spirit. And he decided to be in the weak and the needy around us, as we surely need each other. With weak and needy I do not mean the beggar on the street or the drug addict only. I mean every human being lacking. And as long as we are here, we all do. But God provided. He provided in the other.
God will never come and erase all challenges and solve all problems, as long as we are in this age and time. He will occasionally do miracles and resolve circumstances to remind us of the supernatural, but if he would solve them all, we would be thrown from our trajectory of growth. In this time and age, no challenges means no need for growth. And we would never gain what we were made for.
Fellowship with the triune God in perfect unity, as a family, grown to be equals with him.
I for my part will cherish challenges more in the future. Because I wanna be there!