I was reading last night and stumbled upon a wonderful passage from Jürgen Moltmann’s book The Passion for Life. He writes,
If God wants so much to suffer us that he so deeply suffers for us, because of us, and with us, then we also become free to be transformed. We are not forced to hold fast to ourselves or to our image and appearance. We are already held. Since we can no longer lose ourselves, we can therefore open up and change ourselves. (page 32)
There is a lot of change going on in my life right now, and I feel the instability and uncertainty (the underside of adventure and excitement) that comes with that. I suspect I am not the only person encountering this swirl of emotion. Likely, we all need the gentle reminder that come what may we are already held tenderly in the suffering hands of a loving God. “Change” (however big or small) is not a final threat to us when our security rests in God’s enduring, steadfast, merciful love. God’s love, as Moltmann suggests, is a liberating love, freeing us to dance passionately in a divine drama, even though we know so little of the choreography. This truth about God sets us free, as the gospel of John proclaims (8:32); free to live boldly and to change faithfully.
So it is that God delights in us, even in our mishaps and failures. Moltmann believes that “Because, as Jesus has shown us, God has pleasure in us, he puts up with very much as we daily go about making our right and wrong choices.” If Jesus reveals to us the character of God’s love, the very nature of God’s own being, then we can trust the changes we are confronted with to be worked over by God. We can let God shape the change, transform us, make us new. And on the far side of our transformations we can cling to the promise of resurrection–the eternal, joyful, peaceful, holy reconfiguration of our whole life in intimate connection with Christ through his Spirit.
Changing is shored up by the always already established work of God in Christ, securing us; and by the ever-unfolding work of God in the Spirit, empowering us and luring us into the future. We are free to step boldly into change because God is behind and before us.
I trust this heartening news will embolden my steps, hastening my timid tip-toes into faithful strides. May we each walk boldly into divine love, boldly opening our hearts to change for God’s glory!