There’s a strip of street that I drive on daily that is somewhat run down and speaks of a time when businesses were popular in that area. They were perfectly located in a long-ago small town, but with the late outward expansion and developments, they look forgotten. Tumbleweed blowing down an abandoned, dusty street is a picture of the apparent desertion.
There is one particular store in that forsaken spot that was renovated and opened as, what looked like, a consignment store, thrift store, and ongoing yard sale. The owners—whoever they may be—made slow improvements. First came the inclusion of local art. Then came the updated outdoor space. Then a fresh coat of paint and new green awnings. Then a new sign and better name: Muse Emporium. Then the merchandise started to look less yard-saley. What sat as a forgotten and sad building has become a lovely place that breathes life again. (I have made all of these observations on my commute; I have yet to go in!)
The appearance of change and improvement was slow. So slow, in fact, that there were times when it didn’t look like anything was happening at all. Do you know that feeling? Things move slower than slow-mo so you wonder if they move at all?
Sanctification can be like this, either by complacency or design. When by complacency, we fail to grow because of our sin. When by design, growth is slow because the Lord is working many parts to one end, and that process takes time. During the seasons when change is slow and growth is hard, I want to remember Muse Emporium. It was nothing to take note of from its street view. The changes were gradual and the updates came little by little. With time and attention something beautiful has taken the place of a somber, old building. What once was run-down has become alive and functioning, industrious even.
There were times when it seemed Muse Emporium was barely hanging in there. I couldn’t imagine how it could ever improve. It would have been easier to give up. I do not own Muse Emporium, and its owners are wiser and more patient than I. I like to hurry here and bustle there, but sanctification doesn’t race.
Let us always desire sanctification and growth, even when it seems delayed and unnoticeable. Let us never willingly stall because of complacency for God will always make all things beautiful in his time.