THE BOAT SAILS BY, THE SHORE REMAINS. This clear image of change and constancy raises an interesting question: what is constant in Christianity and what changes?
Answering that has always been a continuing source of argument. For example, we read in II Peter that we are to “grow in grace” (KJV 3:18). And yet we also know that God’s grace, His outpouring of love, is not earned. It can’t be made greater by what we do. In that sense, it remains constant, like the shore. But, like the sailboat, as much as we yearn for constancy of faith, we’re not going to get it sitting still. Our faith is sustained and strengthened only as we grow, as we move forward. And there is no end to that growing. As Oswald Chambers wrote, “It is a bad thing to be satisfied spiritually” (My Utmost For His Highest May 2).
And yet, how many of us sit in church, or out of it, with just that thought? The view of God we’ve always had fits us just fine. We’re not hungering for anything more. In fact, it is the idea of change that unsettles us and makes us insecure. And so, instead of sailing on into new views of God’s grace, we sit in dry dock.
We must ever hunger and thirst, for there is more to know and more to live and more to give. Chambers’ description of this necessary maturing and revitalizing process is perhaps the best I’ve read. He said that hearts “beat with renewed excitement” when they discover “a new way of manifesting the Son of God.” Then he warned: “Never live on your memories of past experiences, but let the Word of God always be living and active in you” (May 14). (Turning Aside to See, chapter 53)