I have been privileged to have the close friendship of Dr. Jon Paulien for many years now. And I was privileged again to be able to spend time with him at the Iowa Missouri camp meeting this last week. On Friday morning he shared something with the pastors that I had heard fragments of before in our conversations, but had not seen fully until that point.
I believe it will be illuminating for many of my friends– and especially useful for the young adults I am so committed to. It certainly helped me. Over the next few days/weeks I will be sharing these important concepts here and at Elijah’s Run.
The first stage in growing in faith is the Romance stage. Everything is delightful, everything is beautiful, everything will always go well. We are so delighted to have discovered faith, to have encountered Christ and Christians, everything seems perfect.
This– like each of the other stages– is healthy and necessary. But in the Christian life, just as in real life, Romance cannot sustain your experience forever.
As someone married to my highschool sweetheart for more than 40 years, I can attest that Romance does not have to disappear– it can grow and flourish. When present, it is still wonderful and delightful. But it is fickle and inconstant, and often hides when troubles loom. So enjoy it whenever it is available, but recognize that it cannot sustain your Christian experience, any more than it can sustain a marriage, by itself.
It is the first stage, and a necessary one. But it is a stage, not a destination. Next time: stage 2.