There’s a doctrine that we weirdly adhere to:
“Life should be steady upward progress.”
In terms of both ‘happiness’ (how I’ll be satisfied), and ‘reputation’ (how I’ll be seen), we feed ourselves this expectation:
School. Uni. Family. Career. Our happiness levels rising exponentially while more and more people recognise and come to celebrate our innate greatness. We Christians add ‘ministry’ in to the mix, which we expect will go from one level of fruitfulness, on to a greater level, and will be seen to be doing so by the increasingly numerous adoring crowd.
We publicly confirm our adherence to this doctrine. Our social media smiles widening year on year in front of cooler and cooler backdrops.
The heretics who deviate from this narrative we tend to shun, or at least starve of publicity. As generations of the elderly, whose lives emphatically proclaim “the curve don’t keep going upward”, are hidden away. We find ourselves shocked when the one guaranteed thing actually happens and someone dies.
This doctrine is false, and like all falsehoods it keeps us in captivity.
The scriptures are much more honest with us.
Detours, delays, disasters, deserts, defeats, deaths. All are normal and expected on the path of discipleship.
We follow one whose curve was all over the place and one day went as low as screaming “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” whilst hanging naked and betrayed from an instrument of execution.
Your curve isn’t upward?
Fear not, you’re in good company.