Change calls for patience.
New York City is covered in scaffolding. Twenty five miles to be exact. It’s useless information for the average person, although it gives an idea of the amount of transformation going on in the city.
The ugly metal poles and wooden planks stay in place a long time. The area surrounding the building site becomes muddy and mucky. Large puddles form when it rains. Boards make sidewalks uneven. It’s worth crossing the street to avoid ruining a nice pair of shoes.
The only useful thing about scaffolding, to me as a passer-by, is it provides shelter and brief respite on a rainy day. Apart from that, the structures are infuriating.
Our lives can be the same. We’re promised transformation when we turn to Jesus; to become more like him. But, it’s like scaffolding in NYC. Change can take a long time. It can be exasperating for ourselves and for the people who expect us to be different. It can be annoying when other people don’t change, too. On a day-to-day basis our “remodeling” can be hard to see, difficult to imagine, and frustratingly slow. We find it hard to kick unhealthy habits. We continually say the wrong things when we want to stop.
Now that I’ve lived in the city for while, I know scaffolding comes and goes. It is put up overnight in once place, and it is taken down in another. This changing landscape is a reminder the city is active and improving all the time.
Construction took place on a new apartment block near our home. I could see men in their orange hard hats working on the top of the building from our fifteenth floor window. This brought excitement. I knew the wait was nearly over. One day, back down to street level, the scaffolding was removed. What a delight to step on the beautiful new light grey sidewalk, free from stains. Stickers still adorned the fresh glass in the new windows. Soon, they would be shiny and bright. A brand new front door made me want to move in.
Even though it may not seem like it, God is at work. We do begin to reflect Jesus and the goodness he displayed. And what we see is delightful, too.
Our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.
Like scaffolding that seems to be in place forever, there is a lot of work to be done in our lives. Progress seems slow. But, don’t despair, look for the beauty it reveals.