For those of you who attend CPC on Sundays, you may know me as the blonde “Communion Cop” who directs traffic for people coming forward during the Lord’s Supper each week. As rows are released and folks move forward, it’s my job to direct those at the front of the line to one of three tables up front as they open up from the previous group of participants. It’s a dance of sorts because the timing of how long each table host takes per group varies.
I am positioned in front of the center table, but I have to direct people to both the center table as well as the tables on either side. Often two of the three tables may release at the same time. When that happens, I try to fill the side tables first in hopes of achieving a rhythm that cuts down on traffic jams due to tables dismissing simultaneously.
The table hosts often get antsy as they see folks standing in line and their own empty tables staring back at them so they decide to “help” by waving to people to come to their table. Needless to say, this helpfulness often confuses those standing in line because more than one person is directing them. And who doesn’t want to please an eager, smiling pastor?
On a recent Sunday, my sweet center table pastor—who shall remain nameless—decided to wave and encourage people to his table regardless of what I was telling them. In the most spiritual tone of voice I could muster, I turned and spewed “Trust my process!” The pastor and his table helpers nervously giggled at my abrupt order but thankfully, returned to the submissive approach I appreciate most.
Over the next week or two, the story got retold a few times at a couple different staff meetings with lots of laughter because I’m known for being quite the Type A Process Gal. I was partially embarrassed and partially validated because process matters and everyone knows it. (And if you don’t agree, we need to have a talk.) But the real takeaway for me was later realizing how much I don’t trust God’s process.
From a Reformed theological perspective, sanctification is God’s “process” for shaping us. I have decades of evidence that disappointments and suffering move me closer to Jesus and help me die to myself more than my mountaintop moments. And yet, most of my energy is focused on staying as comfortable as possible. God’s process involves me pressing into those relationships that are harder, accepting limited finances, and allowing our kids to make really big mistakes without rescuing them and enabling a victim mentality when life gets hard. Those are the easy ones. Tragic deaths, fatal diseases, and destroyed marriages are also brutally sanctifying events because they drive us to the cross even more urgently.
As each week brings new challenges—both first-world inconveniences as well as truly sorrowful circumstances—we are called as believers to Trust the Process! It doesn’t mean we have to like the process, but we can rest in Romans 8:28 that all of it is being worked for the good of those who love him. We can Trust the Process because the Process Designer is trustworthy.