How is it we and he Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?
Waiting for your kids to grow up can be paaaaiiinnnnfulll. There are so many things that having kids under the age of...30....make difficult. We can't leave them alone so we can go out. They don't clean up well(or at all). Dinner is a constant struggle and most of ends up in places we have to later clean. Sometimes it gets so frustrating that I lose my cool and tell my son to stop acting like a baby. Which, as a four year old, he finds very offensive. But it doesn't cause him to change his behavior.
So we just wait.
And, at the end of the day it is worth it. While there are moments I wish I could snap my fingers and they would grow up...for just an evening...I want to enjoy and celebrate the process of their growth towards adulthood. How heartbreaking would it be to wake up one morning to see them as adults and have forgotten the journey they took to get there.
The journey of childhood is essential. How we celebrate it with them, enjoy it with them, teach them through it, is essential to them becoming the adults we dream about. Ever know an adult who had to grow up too fast? There is a lot of regret and heartache. Don't rush it.
We rush our spiritual journey way too much. And we expect others to be right where we are RIGHT NOW! There is rarely a time we stop to revel in the moment that God currently has us in. It is always about tomorrow, never today. It is not that we shouldn't be, and couldn't be, moving forward, but we get our heads ahead of our feet, and inevitably fall.
When Jesus is confronted about why He is disciples aren't fasting He makes a very important point.
It isn't time for that yet, the time will come, but not today.
Just because John's disciples and the Pharisees are at that stage in their lives(fasting) doesn't mean Jesus' disciples are.
From there He has this interesting little explanation. Don't put new wine into old wineskins, and don't put unshrunken cloth on old clothes to patch. At first, when I read that I had trouble understanding the contextual significance of these ideas. So, I did what we always should do when in doubt, study some more.
Here is what I found: Jesus is reinforcing the idea that putting too much on (or in) to someone before its time will break it. Now was there time to celebrate, and when they were ready, then they would fast.
Could you imagine what would happen if I expected my four year old to act like a teenager? And, held him accountable to his failure to live up to that? It would be emotionally devastating for him. Every day he knows daddy has a high expectation of him, one he can't possibly succeed in, and he knows he will be punished for his failures. It would create a sense of unworthiness and failure that would undermine his further development.
God's grace is one that comes to you right where you are at. There is NO expectation for you pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. There is only the expectation to be loved.
Now, don't go thinking this is a way of justifying no growth, of staying right where you are. Because the powerful thing about being lavishly and undeservedly loved by God through Grace is that it will begin to change you. Not you changing yourself. But God changing you from the inside out.
One day you will wake up different, not because of what you did, but because of what you allowed Him to do in you.
My kids will become adults one day. Not because of some hoops they had to jump through. But because it is inevitable. My job is to keep loving them deeply so that they get there. If I stopped taking care of them, they wouldn't live very long. Not that they aren't great kids, but they are incapable of preparing meals, and even getting their own milk out of the fridge. To become adults from where they are right now requires them to let me take care of them and nurture their growth.
Are you letting God nurture your growth?
Are you letting God nurture the growth in others?
Be patient with yourself. Be patient with others. Loving them, and sharing truth with them, and giving them what they need when they need it will be the process through which we see them grow and change. You won't help someone grow and change by telling them to buck up and try harder.
There is no reason to grow up too fast