Before and After

A little over a year ago, we bought an old house. We could see the potential, but the amount of work involved was overwhelming at times. Before we started, I took tons of pictures – every room, every corner, every angle. Now it’s (more or less) finished and I love to show it off. The people who are the most impressed are the ones who saw it before, with the faded wallpaper and gold, threadbare carpet where the clean, bright colors and shiny wood now exist. Sure, it looks nice enough if you don’t know what we did, but it’s so much better if you understand the magnitude of the changes, the turmoil and trials and extent of the process. Maybe that’s why I keep a small photo album handy when showing the house to someone new.

Looking back at some intense situations I’ve experienced, I’ve noticed the spiritual parallel to my photo album of home repairs. I could have kept everything to myself, not telling my friends about it until the end, when I’d already come through it all and triumphed and achieved the “right” result. After all, isn’t the finished product all that matters?

No. If my friends didn’t know about the situations as they were happening, they could not have required me to remain accountable for my actions. But it’s not just about accountability. I also wanted them to see the drastic changes God was making in me. Without firsthand knowledge, they might not truly believe it. And they certainly wouldn’t know how huge they were. I’ve never been after praise for myself; if anything, it’s dreadfully humbling to let your friends know how badly you have failed. But I do want God to get the glory for His mighty works. I want people to know that He is good and He is faithful and He does answer prayer. So I’ve had to allow people to witness the whole painful process… which, rather than highlight my many faults, simply makes the end result that much more breathtaking. And God’s mercy and kindness that much more miraculous.

No comments: