“So strengthen my grip of faith. Renew my hope of eternal life. Grow me into the identity that yet awaits me; transform me into the person you always knew I would become.”
These three things resonate with me today. Renew my hope of eternal life. Grow me into the identity and transform me into that person. Renew, Grow, and Transform. They are so closely related you might not see the differences. But those differences are what makes this stand out to me. Renew is, for me the process of taking something and making it fresh again. In my mind eye, I see it as spring. The earth starts a new cycle of life, every year that which died in winter is brought back to life in spring. For me this is renewal. Renew my hope. So often hope falters in daily life. I know the struggles of daily life causes me to lose hope in my dreams and visions, and that causes me to lose hope in the future and sometimes even eternal life. But this is the key; eternal life. If I am secured that it is eternal life that is the end of my struggles and something that God has ordained for me. It is the end that counts. That almost sounds like the end justifies the means.” Not true but yet very true. Not true in the use of the means, as the way to do things ether honorable or dishonorable. But true in that the path I travel to get where God wants me are always good, holy and righteous. My hope is in eternal life, my actions should then reflect that hope in my daily activities.
The second word is growth. “Grow me into the identity that yet awaits me.” Growth is about nurture. It is about giving the right care that enables someone to become more. Much like a plant grows we grow. A plant needs water, nutrition, and sun. Remove any part of that the plant will not grow. We are a bit more complicated than plants; still there are things that we need to grow. And as Ben Franklin wrote: “What does not kill, instructs.” So it is true for us, our hard times help us grow. Just as training for the marathon builds me up, I hope the same is true because of my life struggles that I am able to grow stronger in my faith. What I really like about this statement is “the identity that yet awaits me.” There is a purpose that remains unfulfilled and therefore I press on…this is critical. Christian writers and scholars stress this idea that our faith is a journey, an ongoing process. No where do we find in the Bible that once you accept Christ you are finished. But it is tjos overwhelming idea that Christ is faithful to finish what he started in us.
The final idea of transformation I quickly identify with the “Transformer Movie.” The trucks and cars become defenders of the universe in a matter of seconds. There is this transformation that is constantly being changed in us. We transform from sinner to saints in a matter of seconds, time after time to do a good work. Although we would want that change permanent, it just doesn’t stick. But for that moment when God needs us to be his hands and heart in the world we become what he knows we can be and eventually will be. Eventually the ordinary person will be transformed in to the true likeness of God.