“Who among you will give heed to this,
who will attend and listen for the time to come?”
~Isaiah 42:23 (NRSV).
This is not a pretty message but it is necessary for everyone to understand it if they want to live. Indeed, if we will attend to the motioning of God’s Spirit as it judges us, in and through the situations of life, we stand to learn the ancient Wisdom as enunciated, for example, by Proverbs 1.
To explain the Bible in twenty-five words or less to a newbie, it could be said it details the event* of God’s creation and pattern of relationship with humankind to an extent that obedience is blessed with life and sin is cursed by judgment. This is how life works whether it’s accepted or not. (* “Event,” here, so far as time’s concerned, is both static [the seven-day creation account] and dynamic [the ongoing support of creation that goes on today].)
The purpose of life is to learn from our mistakes; to not resent the judgments of God as meted out in the normal course of living. For, we all make mistakes. Additionally, we’re ‘judged’ for some things beyond our understanding. Life can be indiscriminate. The theology of the Fall and our brokenness can be used to explain this.
Judgment – A Condition for All
Yes, judgment in this life—as well as in the life to come—is unavoidable. It takes a mature mind, one aligned to truth, to agree with this.
That fact acknowledged, we move on to a fuller portion of acceptance.
Frankly, acceptance is what life is all about. Acceptance is repentance; a coming back into the Lord’s fold, and agreeably so.
Acceptance on the practical stage is the uncommon genial delight of things as they immediately are, but with the allowance of reserving the right to challenge and improve them—if they can be improved. To be able to live in both places at the same time is maturity or, in another’s terms, wisdom.
This, here, is the embodiment of The Serenity Prayer.
Maturity is not holding God to account (or anyone else) for all the hard things of life. It’s going on anyway. That too is wisdom.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.