When we moved into our condo nearly two years ago, our basement was unfinished. Last fall we decided to change that. Sometime around Thanksgiving we started the project that would produce a guest room, a full bath and living space. My assumption was that the project would be completed a month or two after the first of the year.
Next week my brother is coming to visit us. The space in our basement would be the perfect place for him to stay, except for one problem. You guessed it. The project is not yet completed! It is still a "work in progress."
This morning I read the Easter story in the Gospel of John (I am a little behind in my reading through the New Testament, also). On a parallel track with the miracle of the resurrection is the story of the tediously slow development of the faith of Jesus' followers. Jesus had been telling them for an entire year that he would be raised from the dead, yet Mary, when she finds the tomb empty, tells the others, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." (John 20.2) John, we are told, "went in (the tomb), and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead." (John 20.8-9) At this point, it sounds to me like John was believing that the body was missing, and not that Jesus had been raised from the dead.
This particular chapter in John's Gospel concludes with the statement, "Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20.30-31) At STL we begin most Sunday worship services with stories of God @ Work in our midst. These stories are told ... just as this little note is written every Thursday ... "that YOU may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing YOU may have life in his name." This also is what New T: 1-K is all about.
Yet, just like our basement project and those first followers of Jesus, we are all just a "work in progress." Growth spurts are followed with times of stagnation. There are times when our faith is regressing ... possibly in leaps and bounds ... until someone or something gets our attention. Through it all, God is at work in you and me, seeking to get our attention so that he may develop our faith, and our effectiveness in helping others.
This week we are ordering the flooring for our basement. Over the weekend the final rooms will be mudded and painted. One of these days we will have to tear out a section that I did on my own, and start that section over (the quality control folks were remiss). All of these are 'signs' of progress similar to the 'signs' mentioned by John ... they are signs that work is being done.
I expect our basement project will be finished soon, "and I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1.6)