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[ a brief spiritual biography ]


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A certain young hack recently turned 20. This, for most of his life, has been considered the point at which he might become a man. Jewish folk christen theirs at age 13. Forrests wait a little longer.

As you might expect, however, his 20th birthday came and went without much "to do." He felt every bit the awkward teenager he was at 11:59 that he was one minute later, despite the fact that he was finally on his own, living at college, hours away from his nuclear family.

He got to thinking. And then, writing. What you read here is the result.

Becoming "a man," he decided, was much like most of the events in his life. No one event was able to change him, immediately, for good. He has always had to edge his way in cautiously, making various mistakes along the way, and eventually "grow into" new roles, situations and the like. He is the type that will spend hours dangling his feet in the swimming pool before diving in.

More thinking. Hours pass. Themes from various T.V. shows play in his mind; "It's Raining Men" plays as well. Finally, a connection is made.

The waiting game is often a part of the spiritual life as well. Even though said hack has been a Christian for as long as he remembers, he didn't really feel like one until he turned 17. He had been scared into "rededicating" his life several times (not a terrible exercise at all, but not, he realizes now, necessary to secure a place in heaven), but was befuddled when the drastic "conversion testimonials" of others didn't mirror his own. Then, finally, everything began to click. God chose a certain time to make big changes, and your hack was able to see how He had been there all along.

The lesson? It's not to be passive—to stop pursuing God. It is to remember that God doesn't always use lightning bolts, and that continuing to seek Him, even when He seems silent, always ends up well. As Henry Blackaby so eloquently pointed out in Experiencing God, it took 25 years from the time God spoke to Abram about providing him with a son, until the child was born. Why did it take so long? "Because it too 25 years to make a father suitable for Isaac," writes Blackaby.

It may take many years before your scribbler becomes a man, just as it took 17 years for him to understand how to be a Christian. It may take his readers longer to learn the same lessons. The important thing is to be faithful, setting aside whatever time is possible. And to remember a clichéd axiom that is all too often forgotten: patience, indeed, is a virtue.
- Ben Forrest
January 2003
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