In reflecting on themes of life and death, and everything in between this past week, one of the aspects that kept filtering back to the front of my mind was time. Or more to the point, the length of time it takes be transformed by grace as a believer. Let me explain. The bible tells us that we we are being changed, renewed as the apostle Paul puts it; “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). In 2 Corinthians 3:18 he puts it this way, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever- increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit”. Renewed. Transformed. Words that speak of ongoing change and growth with the goal of becoming someone greater and in preparation for something greater. We often refer to this as sanctification, the process by which the Holy Spirit causes us to grow in grace, enabling us to shed the vestiges of our sinful nature and clothe ourselves with the beautiful robes of his righteousness. My point here, however, is not the significance of this process nor the means by which God works in us. It is more about the frustration of the seeming turtle-like pace with which it proceeds.
Carolyn Errands, in the latest issue of Faith Today rightly notes that “such transformation almost always happens at a pace slower than we would expect or desire” (Faith Today Sept/Oct 2020 “Transformation Takes Time”). We want it fast but God says, “all in my timing”. We get frustrated with the timing. But God says, “I am the Master of time. We are impatient. But God says, “What’s your rush?” In 2 Peter 3:9 we are reminded that “the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”. So the challenge comes back to us and points us to the cross of Christ where we find redemption and the means to recognize the process he has begin in us. It is on us to trust “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). So let us, with prayerful hearts, entrust the pace of our transformation to God while pursuing with vigorous passion a life pleasing to him. He will get it done - rest in his promise.