Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Steady Progress

As I sit typing this, the Doctor is practicing her violin, as she has done every weekday for the past eight and one half years. As she is practicing, I am reflecting on the changes brought about in her musical abilities and understanding. She has come so far, both as a human being (she has been playing for almost three quarters of her life at this point!) and as a musician.

She does not practice willingly, but as her father and I believe that it is good for her, for all three of them, to study music, she practices. I have explained the benefits to her, but she is still a child who frequently wants her way... such is childhood. Being an obedient sort, though, she does practice. And she is actually quite good. I say this, not as a proud mother, but as a fellow musician and teacher of musicians. She will never be a concert violinist, and she has no desire to be. But she has an excellent ear and a quick mathematical mind, which gives her quite an advantage.

But I digress.

I can hear the differences in her playing, but I am not as sure she can. I know she realizes how much more she knows in terms of pieces and techniques, scales, arpeggios, and the like, but I don't know if she knows how much she's truly grown as a musician.

And I wonder... is this how God sees us? Does He look at us, look at how long we've been "practicing" Christianity (in the form of walking with Him in relationship), and see how much we've grown? Does He take Godly pride in how far we've come? Does He, while seeing our mistakes, still smile at how those mistakes have changed over the years? What would He tell us about our walk with Him if we could audibly hear Him? If we could sit down with Him for a few hours a week like Adam and Eve could do while they were still in Eden? What woud He say? I know there would be correction, but I'm pretty sure there would be encouragement as well (given that we are commanded to encourage others in the Bible is several places).

We realize how much we've learned, I think, in terms of Bible study, preaching, about His character. But do we realize how far we've come as Christians? Or do we see only the mistakes? Do we only "hear" the wrong notes? The out of tune ones? How much of our time do we spend on reliving the missteps, the sinful behaviors, words, and thoughts, verses how much time do we spend thanking God for how far He's brought us? Because, ultimately, we cannot do this on our own. Our holiness comes only from God alone. Anything of Him that is evident in us is only because He is working. How much do we acknowledge His work, praise Him for His work, and ask Him to continue? In my life, I'll admit, not much. I see so much of how I fail, how I am wrong and sinful. And when I do realize that I'm not the same as I was before, my pride rears up and wants to take credit. But I can't. And I would be much farther along if I would trust God more consistently, more fully, and more daily.

I just wonder as a parent sometimes, "Is this how God feels?" Today was one of those days.