‘Slow and gradual’ brings transformation, too
I’d not planned on speaking today. Wednesday is my heaviest workday of the week, but in between reports, I’m thinkin’ on transformation and on how, exactly, it comes. And I recall a conversation at the coffee shop on Friday last…
I’m sitting at my high, round table, savoring salted caramel brewed just for me, French press, and there he comes. A hulking, burly giant of a man who once, with his family, lived just across the road.
He seats himself with his laptop and earbuds, and I, recalling a piece of his history, I say, “Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure!” he says, all quick and ready. He’s not easily offended, I know, and so I say it.
“How old were you when you came to the end of your rebellion?”
“Thirty.” One word. A simple fact, and there’s no shame.
He knows my son; knows a bit of his journey, and he can guess why I’m asking. “The day I turned 30, I went out and had 30 beers, and then I wrecked my truck.” That’s what he tells me.
So I tell him what the Lord began revealin’ awhile back, that not all transformations will come in an instant. It just doesn’t always happen like that. In fact, perhaps most of the time, that’s not how it goes…a Damascus road, a tormentor named Saul, and bright light comes, bringing repentance.
In an instant.
How well (and I mean all the way to the bottom of my heart and on through to the liver and spleen and everything else) I understand the desire for the instant. The longing for the immediate deliverance. For the miracle of all miracles at one shining moment in time. No other parent could have ever wanted that more than I wanted that.
There was (I will offer just this) a single, culminating event in our son’s story that did begin to effect a change. It was God-sent. It helped. It changed things. But…
A real repentance, sincerest turning, inner healing, they all take time. For a runner didn’t get to the far country overnight, you see, and he usually can’t make it back all in one night. There’s so very much of the route that takes time.
So what the Lord showed me just earlier this year is that a slooow, gradual turning, well, that’s an answer, too. In fact, according to the kind, understanding gentleman I was speaking with, “You can keep your ‘moment-in-time’ deal. I’ll take my slow journey any day.”
Inquisitive me, Girl Who Always Must Know How and Why Things Work, I said, in response, “Why is that?” Which made him stop for a moment in his tracks and think. And then he said this: “I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything. I didn’t become an adult in one moment in time. After all, when we learn to ride a bike, we fall, don’t we?”
Yeesss. We do! We fall, we get back up, and we try again. Then, one sweet day, we’re off and running. Flying free with the wind at our backs.
The sweet, little message that the Lord wants me, I believe, to give you today is this–do not despair if transformation comes slow. Do not give up hope if the journey is long. And this…
Do not insist it must happen a certain way. For God is the One who knows best. Knows your kid. Knows what’s gone wrong. Knows how to bring healing, and He’s working.
Trust Him. Trust His ways. Trust His heart.
For He’s good, and He’s loving you both. You and your runner.
P.S. – The gentleman I spoke with? He’s thriving with a lovely family, a wife and three kids. And a flourishing ministry that helps to rescue children from the sex trade. Now, don’t you think ‘slow and gradual’ can be so very, very good? And effective?
I send my love.