Lent is a season of reflection — a time to walk in love and to meditate on how we as Christians can learn new ways to “Love Bigger.” To observe the 40 days of Lent, Springs Rescue Mission is sharing devotionals from local faith and community leaders. The theme of this series is the same as that of our organization: “Love Bigger.” These two words are meant to be a reminder of the endless love of God in our lives, as well as a charge to us as Christians to meditate on how we might reflect that love on our fellow man.
The insatiable appetite for repeated delight within children is amazing — if also exhausting.
I have two small boys who will be turning 2 and 5 this summer. The youngest is just beginning to talk and is already picking up on some of his older brother’s favorite words: “more” and “again.”
“May I have one more,” is what the older brother says, while the younger one just says “mo’.” The soon-to-be 5-year-old urges me to yet another round with, “do it again daddy.” But from almost-2-year-old, it’s just another “mo’.”
In his seminal book Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton wrote:
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.
It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
We grow weary, but does God?
We much prefer the satisfaction of linear progress — the “next” and the “new.” When we don’t progress, we ask ourselves why we feel ‘stuck.” When it comes to discipleship, I wonder whether our linear thinking should be reframed as a focus on the orbital journey.
If we were to map out the events of a calendar year, we would put them in a progressive line; but if we were to map out the journey of the earth in that same year, it would be an orbital journey. I’ve been reflecting on this one a lot lately.
Linear thinking can cause us to wonder why we’re forced to do things again, or why we return to lessons we thought we had learned already. That can lead to all sorts of discouragement, as though we should have progressed or matured past some of the more elementary parts of our faith.
In an orbital thinking model, the earth is always progressing and yet returns to the same spot each year. Year after year, it ends up in the same place. Our lives on earth continue to progress and develop, but our orientation to the sun has us coming back to the same place over and over: “more” and “again.”
It’s the same with our faith.
God does not bring you back to the same principles and lessons as a consequence against you. He brings you back because his overwhelming love delights in “more” and “again.” You can see and feel it in worship, vulnerability, humility, meekness, forgiveness and service. It may be the same place, but you are a year older and more mature — life has progressed, and so has your faith.
If you took a moment to reflect on where you’re at, what in your life give you that feeling of “this again?” Now, take solace in the fact that God delights in bringing you back to this place: to reexamine a familiar lesson; to serve sacrificially more often; to Love Bigger once again.
Think about those things that feel like “more” or “again.” They’re not just boxes to be checked; they’re part of a journey that keeps you coming back. How can you challenge yourself to be okay with the orbit of God’s love, and with the faithful spaces you return again and again?
Evan Reedall is the Executive Pastor of Marriage & Family Ministries for New Life Downtown in Colorado Springs.
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