I was overwhelmed. And I was not ready. In college, I worked in a restaurant. Two years into it, the manager promoted me from cleaning tables to cooking. I grew to love it. There was a new sense of satisfaction with cooking. But I was still green. Very green. Only five days later, the night was late and we were short on help. I was by myself for the first time. Normally this wouldn’t happen for weeks or months. But I was eager. And the boss needed someone. The experience started easy. A few meals, some tasty steaks and chicken. Then, came the rush. Orders piled up. And I quickly was lost. The manager noticed. I was overwhelmed. And I was green. As he came around the corner, he simply, yet sternly said, “Marc, stand down.” As an officer releasing a soldier from guard duty. I sheepishly watched from the sidelines as the manager and his assistant cleaned up my mess. Embarrassment and frustration welled up in me. I was not ready.
The story came to mind recently. We were talking about John 15:26-16:15 at church recently. In chapter 16, Jesus tells his disciples, “ “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” Jesus was telling his disciples that he had more to tell them. But they weren’t ready for it yet. However, one day they would be. Just like in my failed cooking attempt.
A few days into cooking, I wasn’t ready. But in the years that followed, I would go through the same situation many times. And it was a breeze. The same is true in our spiritual lives. Each of us are called by God to grow in him. To read his Word. To go to him in prayer. But some understanding takes time. When I switched churches at 19 year old, I came across a doctrine that I didn’t understand. Originally, I pushed back against it. I said that it wasn’t really what Jesus taught. I said that it wasn’t how things work. But over time, I searched the scriptures. And the Scriptures confirmed it for me. Originally, I wasn’t ready. But Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. And the Holy Spirit taught me over time. John Newton once said, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am” Over time, each of us can grow. Each of us can learn. And each of us can follow Christ deeper.