Almost four years ago, Andy and I made an extremely brief stop by the Billy Graham Library. Unfortunately, we ended up getting to the library right as it was closing so all we were able to do was walk around the grounds. One of the things that we were able to see was Ruth Graham’s tombstone. The inscription on it has always stuck with me: “End of Construction – Thank you for your patience.”
The simplicity of it was surprising. I guess I expected something complicated or fancy or really theological. Although it was just a short statement in plain English, it was still profound. Ruth Bell Graham had the wisdom to realize that on this side of heaven, we’re all a work in progress. As Christians we work together with the Holy Spirit to tear down sin and build Christlike structures in its place.
I don’t know about you, but I fail in the building Christlike structures on a daily basis. I have to work to just be a work in progress. Laziness and pride are easy and fun in the moment. It can be a day by day or minute by minute struggle that leaves us feeling defeated and frustrated. Then we’re right where Satan wants us – buying the lie that God’s power and grace isn’t sufficient for us.
Especially this week as we look to the cross and see Christ’s suffering on our behalf it can be easy to get discouraged. The spiritual valley may seem infinite. The suffering may be real and great. But Sunday, oh Sunday is coming. As we sit at the foot of the cross, we should see our sin that nailed him to the tree. But the picture remains incomplete if we forget to see the love and forgiveness in his bruised and outstretched arms. The victorious King is more than capable of completing the construction he has started in our lives.
As we come to Christ today we can say, “I love you Lord. The construction is in progress. Thank you for your patience.”
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Eph 3:20-21 (ESV)