Patience in the Process
In our little corner of the world, we are very excited about a new road we are getting. It’s a two-lane road that seems to lead to everything necessary for the thousands of people who travel it every day. In fact, we are so excited about the new five lane road that we dream of the improvements to our daily lives. We’ll get to and from work quicker. There will be no more sitting behind trash trucks or school buses or a great-grandma who goes ten miles an hour. We will be able to zip into Dollar General and get back into the traffic easily and effortlessly. Yes, life will be much better when the construction is done. But, for now, and for the next three years, it will not be good.
The road, our already very busy road, is lined with large equipment, fallen trees, piles of dirt and downed power lines. So, as we wait for improvements, we have to put up with a few messes.
Isn’t this true of any improvement project? Think about how God works in the lives of each of us. Improvement doesn’t happen overnight, does it? Oh, many things can happen on the spot. Hearts can change and attitudes can change and actions can change, but generally speaking, for real change to happen, it takes a little–or a lot–of work.
But, what happens with any construction site? We get impatient, don’t we? We get tired of the mess. We’ve stepped over or moved around or taken the detour too many times and we’re tired of it! We’re eager for the “new.” When we look at our fellow followers of the Jesus, many times we lose patience with their “growing” process. We want to cry “Enough already! Let’s move on!” When we look at ourselves and our spiritual process, we do the same. We pray for God to change us—NOW!
But here’s the good news. Life is a journey. It’s a story that doesn’t end until we take our final breathe. Just recently I was talking with a friend whose grandson is struggling with addictions. We talked about his long journey in recovery and how each day is better, but the journey isn’t over. Like all of us, his story doesn’t have an ending yet. It’s still being written and God will not leave him. This young man has parents who poured Jesus into him, but he got caught up in sin and addiction. The last few years have been very hard on him and his family. But, there is hope, for sure. His story is still under construction. He is still living in a mess.
Philippians 1:6 tells us this: “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” With this verse, we are assured, if we desire to grow and change, that God will never leave us in a mess. His desire is for every mess to become a message. As long as we continue to look to God for guidance, He will never leave the construction site of our life. When things seem to pile up, He is there like a mighty machine plowing His way through the junk and debris and making way for the new person He is molding and shaping us to be.
I have been able to watch many life stories get rewritten. I’ve also been witness to many life stories where the words “the end” were added to their story. While there is always sadness at the ending of life, there is also victory when one can see God’s promises lived out. I have witnessed drug addicts become leaders in the church. I have watched broken marriages made whole and those same couples lead marriage seminars. I have rejoiced as lost children have been restored to their faith in God and gone on to lead their own families to be strong, powerful faith leaders. I have seen God take down-trodden, broken-hearted, and sin-filled messes and give them a life that shouts, “Jesus is Lord!”
Don’t ever give up on YOU or anyone else! When you think you’ve had enough with a fellow believer or a child or a grandchild who continues to walk down a broken road, don’t give up! Keep bringing their name before the Father. You may be the only one doing that for them. When you get discouraged with yourself, wondering how you can keep making the same mistake over and over again, don’t give up on you. Keep praying. Keep studying. Keep worshipping. One day, that struggle you had will be a super highway to help others get through their tough days. Your mistake will be a thing of the past and your message will light the way for someone else’s future.
Hugs and blessings, 2 mama