Sunday, April 28, 2013

Work In Progress

I've spent more than a few years in multiple industries over the course of my career.  In nearly every one of my situations, there is a concept called WIP or work-in-progress.  It's that intermediate stage that has taken raw "stuff" and begun to make something tangible and planned out of it.  Sometimes there is a little work, sometimes there is a lot.  Either way, it's necessary and it is very intentional.  It isn't the finished state, but it has value as it progresses toward that end.

Paul understood this when he wrote to the Philippians (1:3-6, The Message), "Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears."

It is the same with me today.  God is performing good work in me (not just through me) with a purpose he has in mind.  He's doing it so that I will continually be transformed and conformed to the image of Jesus.  It leads to perfection in his divine timing and in the way he defines "perfect".  It means he is going to mold me through the good and bad, redeeming even the most evil things that I encounter.  Even the most terrible is not beyond his ability to bring about his glory in his way.  I don't have to understand it (I rarely do anyway); my job is to trust God and believe he is ultimately good.

The Crooked Path is filled with this work in progress.  As I move through it all, I can take refuge in the knowledge that I do not travel alone.  The work in progress has purpose and the one guiding it does not leave me alone.  He has a specific purpose and the work in me is good always.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


I read a post from a former teacher this week that gave me cause to stop and think about things that are going on all around me.  Bonnie had received notice about her high school graduating class and remarked how several of them were listed as "deceased".  She added, sadly, that only a couple of those she knew of were believers.

I thought about that post and then about how events in Boston played out ... and it brought me back to the verse in James where we are told out life is as brief as a vapor - as momentary as the mist that hangs in a grove of trees on a Spring morning.  In the perspective of eternity, no matter how long you live or how old you think this Earth might be, what we know and see are mere blips on the radar.  I don't know about you, but this stuff gives me at least the opportunity to re-evaluate my life and, if I let it touch my heart, I take that chance like I did this week.

The thoughts of brevity lead me to other thoughts as well - and these are of great hope in difficult times.  In the Upper Room Discourse, our Master and Friend told his disciples that he would be going away, but that he would not leave them as mere orphans.  They were still in the orphanage with all its trappings, but they were children of God.  Paul emphasized that hope with his writing on our troubles being temporary as well.  He saw through the mist and knew it would lift.  The brevity of our time should be of great comfort if we take that perspective.

It is just that - perspective - that we need to keep as we travel this Crooked Path.  Life is hard at times, but when weighed against the scale that is eternity, the difficulty is brief.  While this gives us hope, it also brings the same perspective my friend Bonnie had when reading that list.  Brevity should go hand in hand with urgency - we want to bring others with us into our Hope.