Already and Not Yet
Without fail, the Lord ministers to me through the juxtaposition of beautiful ugly.
I search for it in nature, trying my best to capture it in a photo, because my soul thirsts for the comforting reminder that God gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3 KJV).
Among the sharp, stiff leaves of the Plains Yucca, barbed thorns of the wild rose bush, and needlelike spines of the desert prickly pear emerge satiny blooms of ivory, cream, and blush, delicate pink petals, and bursts of reds and yellows as brilliant as the sunrise.
The beautiful ugly leaps from the pages of my Bible, beckoning me toward deep heart-searching, because my soul thirsts for the strong reminder that God’s ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts higher than my thoughts (1 Corinthians 2:6 NIV).
Among the sharp, stiff neck of pride, barbed tongue of self-reliance, and needlelike accusations of where we constantly fall short emerge the promises that when we are weak, then we are strong (2 Corinthians 12:10b), with God, the impossible is possible (2 Corinthians 12:10b), and we have been made holy and perfect once for all and we are being made holy and perfect until the day of Christ Jesus (Hebrews 10:10,14; Philippians 1:6).
We are already holy and not yet holy.
We are a finished product through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, and we are a work in progress through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit.
God wants to bless us by transforming us into the likeness of Christ—something we cannot be through our own means no matter how hard we try.
Sanctification is an invitation not a requirement.
We need not be perfect. We need only to be willing to remain IN PROGRESS.