By the age of 30, after all, your taste in music is pretty-much set for life -- if you're not listening to rap or grand opera by that age, in other words, then you're probably not going to start.
Likewise with smoking. Getting a tattoo. Learning to drive stick-shift.
Or following God.
Yes, some people make that choice much later in life -- sometimes, much, much later. (Our church once baptized two sisters in their 90s, so I know it happens.)
But studies suggest that most people make that decision in their teens . . .
And studies also suggest that, once we've made that decision, then our view of God doesn't change all that much. No, we tend to stick with the same-old answers to the same-old questions, just as we listen to the same-old "Golden Oldies" on the radio.
But when Stephen spoke to the Sanhedrin about the sanctuary . . .
- He didn't talk about its presence in the center of the camp as a symbol of God's immanence.
- He didn't talk about the Most Holy Place as a symbol of God's transcendence.
- And he certainly didn't spend a lot of time explaining the symbolism of the lamps, the basins, the altars, and the Table of Shewbread.
No, his focus was on the fact that it moved -- that it stayed with God's people every step of the way to the Promised Land.
In much the same way, God moves with us through life.
- When we are 13, He leads us through all the issues of adolescence.
- When we are 45, He leads us through all the issues of middle-age.
- And if we should live to be 97, then we can be sure that God will lead us through all the issues that come with that age.
In short, God is not frozen in time; He is not locked in to one, particular stage of our lives . . . anymore than His sanctuary was locked in to one particular place on this earth.
No, the sanctuary moves.
So do we.
So do we.
And so does God.