This afternoon Emmanuel and I took our weekly walk through the new church to see what progress has been made in the past week. I always look forward to seeing what has been accomplished, but this week I couldn’t see any major changes. There were plenty of trucks and work vans in the parking lot all week, so I knew that something should have gotten done. What was the deal here?
I was feeling disappointed until Emmanuel pointed out that pipes way up in the ceiling had been insulated, duct work had been added, and more wiring had been completed.
I had been looking for obvious external changes such as the completion of the sheet rock, or the installation of toilets, or even the sweeping away of some of the debris on the floor. None of that happened. Instead, what was deemed important this week was work on hidden parts of the building. The actual pipes and wiring will eventually be invisible, but they are critical because without them we won’t have heat or light.
I think that in the same kind of way God is at work in us. He is a careful craftsman who is not in a hurry to slap the final coats of paint on us, but is patiently, carefully at work deep inside us. His plan is to make us more like His Son and that means we have to change from the inside out. We so easily get caught up in appearances, but God cares more about what is going on inside us so that’s where He is at work. Eventually though that inner work brings about change that is evident for all to see. Our difficulty is that we often don’t see or recognize the work being done and we get impatient. It is good to be reminded at these times that God does things differently than we do.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
Our new church building doesn’t have big signs on the outside saying, “Under construction.” There is really no need because it is obvious. In the same way, I am pretty sure that anyone who knows me is well aware that I too am ‘under construction’. Lots of work still needs to be done here! Still, I am tempted to wear a little sign to remind myself to take heart – it is the Master Craftsman Himself who is doing the work.