Today the summer air is a wet blanket hanging heavy on some cosmic clothesline. I sit under a shade tree near Shadow Lake, praying for even the smallest wind wisp to cool the perspiration pooling on my forehead. I briefly consider going home, but almost immediately dismiss that thought… no air conditioning. So I try to distract myself by watching the water. (If I had extra clothes along, I’d distract myself by jumping in!)
The water is almost perfectly still. The glassy surface is only occasionally disturbed by a curious fish fumbling with something food-like. Tiny ripples, moving rapidly outward in concentric circles, mark the spot momentarily, then fade away. A pair of geese taking a leisurely journey to the other shore leaves a short-lived set of v-shaped trails behind. These are minor, temporary imperfections in the glass.
On the lake is an exact, unscathed image of the shoreline. Every pine needle and oak leaf, every black-eyed Susan, every cattail, has a twin staring back up at it from the water below. A photo of the lake’s surface would be hard to distinguish from the true shoreline. But it would take so little to blur the picture-perfect reflection. A slight breeze, a skipping rock, or an enthusiastic swimmer would send image-shattering ripples across the surface.
God made so very many incredible things for His own pleasure and for ours. As David so aptly put it, “Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14b) As I wonder at the shoreline’s unspoiled image in the lake, I wonder how unspoiled Christ’s image is in me. It takes a nano-second for my brain to answer its own question. There are many, many, many ripples in the reflection!
God made me in His image and likeness. (Genesis 1:26) He called me out of darkness into His marvelous light. (I Peter 2:9) And He is trying desperately to conform me to the image of His Son, make me a picture-perfect reflection of Jesus. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29) And that’s what my innermost soul wants, too. But my flesh? Not so much! Some days God doesn’t get much cooperation from me at all.
Still, He patiently persists. And the payoff shows in some areas of my life. The process is just so-o-o-o-o slo-o-o-o-o-w. I have to ask myself “why?” Why does God even bother? If I were in His shoes, I would have wiped out mankind long ago. (I don’t even have enough patience and mercy to deal with the sin issues under my own roof, let alone the degenerate condition of all humanity!) As the just and holy God, He has every right and reason to end this earthly madness at any moment. Hallelujah, His patience springs from the unfathomable depths of His love, His mercy, His grace, and His kindness. I am so grateful!
Perhaps these were the thoughts in David’s heart when he said, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!” (Psalm 8:3-5)