"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18
I have a little bit of hair, now, on my head. It's enough to say that I'm not bald anymore. My husband and daughters have encouraged me to go without my wig because they say it looks better. I have to admit that it feels better but still am a bit self conscience about it. It's short enough and feels like baby hair to where if I don't wear a hat I can feel the raindrops on the scalp. The other day I actually felt the wind go through my hair. I was pretty excited about that! I used to always wear a hat when I went out if I didn't wear a wig. But a couple of Sundays ago I actually went wig-less and hatless. I think that some people didn't recognize me and it might have been shocking but everyone is most kind. It's growing little bit by little bit. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it were like the Barbie dolls where all you had to do was push a button and the hair grew from short to long instantaneously?
As I think over the years of being a Christian I realize that it has been little bits by little bits that the Lord has graciously changed me and continues to do so. It's somewhat like my hair growing. I can't see it happening but then all of the sudden there it is. And just like me wishing that I had more hair all of the sudden I also would like there to be more of Christ in me all of the sudden other than what I see as slow mo'. I know that He does all things well and believe that He really does know what is best and will do what is good for me. When I was younger I wanted to know the "perfect plan of the Lord" for my life. Had I known then what I know now and have experienced through the years I'm sure that it would have undone me. Looking back over the years of highs and lows it is the Lord who has sustained us through it all. "Who is sufficient for these things?" says the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:16b. I know that I am not and often wonder in amazement at how the Lord sustains and gives grace.
It is with gratitude that I can think back on this walk of faith and realize He is doing something. I'm not the same person that I was twenty years ago. In fact, hopefully, there has been change even in the last year. All of it is God's doing of course as I fully know that I am no change agent. Here is a bit from the Valley of Vision:
"Thou hast done for me all things well,
hast remembered, distinguished, indulged me.
All my desires have not been gratified,
but thy love denied them to me
when fulfillment of my wishes would have proved my ruin or injury.
My trials have been fewer than my sins,
and when I have kissed the rod it has fallen from thy hands.
Thou hast often wiped away my tears,
restored peace to my mourning heart,
chastened me for my profit.
All thy work for me is perfect, and I praise thee.
This past week I read an article that showed two pictures by the artist Thomas Cole. It was a series of pictures but the ones that I saw were entitled "youth" and the other was "manhood". It depicts youth as having control of the little boat that he is in with purpose and determination. The next picture that was shown was of an adult in the boat. The rudder was gone and the little boat was out of control heading for the waterfall. The man in the boat had his hands clasped together as if pleading with God for help. A picture can paint a thousand words and here is life in just two pictures. When one is young we think that we have control over our little world. And then life happens. For the Christian, life happens with purpose and intent. God intends for us to grow up and change. He promises to perfect that what He has begun and it looks totally different that what we thought it would look like. Herein is the gospel of grace: that we are bought with a price and belong body and soul to the great God of heaven. Because we are His possession He takes great delight in molding and shaping us so that we are a bride made ready. He not only does this for His glory but, in kindness, for our greatest good.
My friend told me the other night that she thought my hair had grown more just in the span of less than two weeks. This made me happy as I don't see it grow at all. So, with my hair growing, there is the hope that in the future there will be enough hair to actually put a comb through it. Remembering this thought and translating it to my Christian walk will be helpful when I fail to do or be what Christ calls me to be.
Looking ahead with confidence we can say with the Apostle Paul, "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:31). I wonder if Thomas Cole painted another picture of an old man in a boat looking to the future with purpose and determination while lifting up holy hands in praise?