Today was my 65th birthday. A milestone for many and me included. Today I am reflecting on my Christian life. I believe Elizabeth Elliot said it best. Even though I did not grow up as she did, I have seen what she has seen over all these years.
My Little Frame of Reference
God's Guidance: A Slow and Certain Light Elizabeth Elliot
God leads me, I believe, within my own frame of reference. What I am, where I am, how I got there, all have a great deal too do with what my frame of reference is.
Consider, for example, the vast differences between the frames of reference of Rahab, the harlot, David, the handsome young keeper of sheep, Esther, the loveliest woman in a heathen king’s harem, and a tax collector named Matthew. What of a redheaded monk in Germany, a noblewoman in the court of Louis XIV, a Russian pilgrim seeking in the forests and steppes the meaning of the Jesus Prayer, a Bible Belt farmwife, a Japanese university student, a Jewish psychiatrist, or a Long Island Episcopalian?
I grew up in a middle-class fundamentalist family in Philadelphia. Family prayers, Sunday school and church, table talk about God and Christian people and Christian work were very much a part of the fabric of my life. It hardly occurred to me that God needed to meet different people in different ways, or that his truth could take forms that would be unrecognizable to me. I saw a certain kind of Christianity in operation, and to me that was what it meant to be a Christian.
It took a while for my imagination to go to work to apply that vision to people in other categories such as those listed above, but in the meantime God met me where I was.
When I began to learn of the wideness in his mercy, my faith began to grow, and I saw that salvation was a scheme of infinitely vaster dimensions than I had dreamed. Whatever our views, they are probably too narrow. Our God is, as J.B. Phillips has said, too small. But the wonderful thing is that God is willing to start there. He can lead us into what the psalmist calls large and even wealthy places.