And all of us brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT
I can remember the first time I had growing pains--the real, physical growing pains, not the emotional kind. I was lying in bed and this aching feeling started to shoot through my legs. It got a little worse so I crawled out of the bed and half limped, half walked to my parents' room. There my mom assured me that it would be okay. That it was normal. She said, "If you won't to grow to be like your daddy, you'll have to go through some of those pains." It didn't make the pain go away but it was enough to coax me back to bed with visions of being six feet tall and a real man like my dad.
I can't tell you the number of times, especially as I've gotten older (I said "older", not "old"), that people have seen pictures of my dad and said how much I looked like him. No, I never made it to six feet and I've managed to keep a little more hair than him but, I must admit, I do look like my dad. Thanks to those growing pains.
I thought of that this morning as I pondered this verse. Growing pains of another kind are a part of any Christ-followers walk. It says so right here. You and I, if we want to look like Dad, must endure the re-shaping and the transformation. Will I ever be God? No. But I should desire to be a very good imitation. (see Ephesians 5:1) That desire will lead me to press on when the aches come or when life doesn't feel like it should. The longer I look at Christ--the more intense my focus becomes on him--the better my reflection becomes. The rough edges are honed. The imperfections are chipped off. The impurities burned away. (Sometimes I feel like my impurities would light a bonfire that could be seen in Asia--but I digress). All of this is so that I could look more like my Father. Every difficulty, every trial, every downward motion in my life is matched with the promise that God can use it for his good, can make it part of this transformation, if only I will surrender. So, I start this day staring intently at Him. I pray that my reflection is purer today than it has ever been. I pray that my passion for Him grows a little deeper today. I pray that the people of North Carolina these next two days will see a very good imitation of him. Maybe, just maybe, it will inspire someone else to visions of being like their Father.