Progress comes in many different forms. Progress is made on constructions sites, in science labs, school classrooms, and usually with physical abilities. Progress can feel slow at times, but it’s exciting when we see its effect.
The house directly behind us was leveled a few weeks ago. All that remains is a hole in the ground and a pile of dirt. The excavators showed up this week, so before long I’m confident that a wonderful new house will appear. The site is a work in progress.
Truth is, we are all works in progress. As we see each other grow and make progress we are more able to believe God can use us. Your “construction stories” challenge my faith and help me grow. I’m challenged and inspired by my sisters in India, sometimes enduring intense persecution because of their faith; my sisters in Abidjan, who have dodged bullets while serving the church during civil war; my single mom sisters who faithfully maintain purity while raising children to love God; my sisters from the Middle East, who experience much less freedom as a woman than I; my sisters who move (sometimes with little ones) to developing countries to serve, my Caribbean sisters who have endured physical disasters and yet keep on serving others …and on and on. Your faith calls me higher—as God uses you to reach many women around the world with the wonderful message of hope that Jesus offers.
As I engage in conversations and share my faith with women who struggle to find meaning in their lives, overcome addictions, struggle to forgive, and learn to accept that they are indeed loved by God— I am reminded that we are all works in progress. We may feel like a hole in the ground or a pile of dirt–thinking we have a long way to go. But, if we let God work on us we will indeed make great progress. Never forget that God works most powerfully through our weaknesses.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
I recount many ways God has worked in and on my life…sometimes fulfilling my dreams, sometimes thwarting and changing them, sometimes telling me to “wait,” and other times saying “no.” The victories and struggles all remind me that I am still a “work in progress.”
It’s sometimes tempting to think that God looks at us with disdain, seeing chaos in our lives instead of the love-filled vision he has for each of us. Yet, God continually goes to work on us with his construction tools, full of love and grace.
If a hole in the ground and a pile of dirt in the lot behind me can soon become a beautiful house—imagine what God can do through his spirit to “grow us” to completion as together we build the kingdom of God on this earth. Imagine his joy as he sees us united in prayer and fasting—praying for personal spiritual progress, for spiritual progress within our churches, and within our families. Praying for progress in lighting this dark world with the message of Jesus.
Since this initiative was introduced I have sought to make progress in genuinely, deeply, and boldly sharing my faith…sharing why I believe in Jesus, what the Bible means to me, and how my faith gives me strength every day during this very difficult time of life. When we focus on areas where we want to grow, we are more prepared to make progress. I was able to share these deep things about my faith with a new friend at the gym a couple of weeks ago who it turns out is eager to learn the Bible, to grow in faith, and to make progress. She loved our first Bible study, loved the church as she visited last week, and was amazed by the love she observed. Tomorrow morning we study the Bible together for the second time. I don’t often find myself in situations so quickly encouraging as this, but perhaps I’ve just missed a number of them from lack of focus. Either way, I am grateful God is working, helping me to make progress.
Whatever you and your local sisters have planned for March 7–let’s all pray for each other’s progress and joy in the faith (Philippians 1:25). Plan something definitive for March 8, something that shows God and you that you intend to make progress in a particular area.
Then, please share in the comments section what God is doing in your life as you press for progress. That way we can all be encouraged.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3-6)