Many homes have one: the closet doorframe, marked with the measure of junior’s growth over the years. I remember surveying the various spans of my growth, and proudly imagining just how tall I would grow.
An even bigger payoff came when we visited my grandparents twice a year. As we arrived they would ooh and aah over how much my brother and I had grown. In those moments no one had to tell me to stand up straight. I was already stretching.
When I reached my full height, somewhere around 15, there was a sense of satisfaction. I was fully grown, and best of all, I was now taller than my dad! But there was also a sense of loss – no more growth to anticipate. No more oohs and aahs. No sense of stretching.
For long years I’ve pondered on a phrase in Ephesians 4, where Paul describes God’s growth goal for us: “the measure of the full stature of Christ.” Wow! That’s up there! God is much more ambitious for our stature than I would ever be for myself. And I’m sure that he is much clearer than I am about how we could be so measured – “the full stature of Christ.” Double wow!
Lately I’ve been reading Tom Ashbrook’s Mansions of the Heart, an exposition of Teresa of Avila’s great account of our growth in Christ. Her seven “mansions” are like marks on the doorframe – most of which have come for me long after my physical span was set. It has given me a glimpse of how God has grown me over the years, and of how much more growth there is yet to reach the “full stature.”
So I find myself stretching. It’s not as if growth is something I do, so much as it happens by God’s design, just as did my physical growth. But I’m stretching in anticipation. Even at 57 God is not finished growing me up! Or you! And the measure he has in mind – triple wow! May it be that the angels ooh and aah for us all.