Same song, different verse

As I gazed out the window this morning, only one thought came to mind – “Seriously?!?!?  More snow?!”  Did the weather gods somehow forget it was April 19th and we’ve had snow since September?  Haven’t we had enough of that white stuff already?

Truth be told, I actually quite like the snow, but even I have had enough already!  Snow is glorious in the winter.  But it’s way past time for spring to truly arrive – not the crazy-weather-spring where you experience all four seasons over the course of several hours.  It’s time for warm, sunny days, playing outside, walks to the park and dusting off the baseball gloves.  It’s time to start thinking about gardens and flowers and mowing the lawn.  But instead our thoughts today focused on building a fire in the woodstove and shoveling the walk – several times.

I feel like I’m stuck in the middle of a remake of Groundhog Day, or at least spinning on a scratched CD.  The never-ending onslaught of snow actually reminds me of conversations I’ve had with my children…I’m sure you know the one.  It’s the conversation where you feel like you’re singing the same song, but different verse…over and over and over and over again.  What parent hasn’t said (or at least thought), “How many times do I have to tell you?” or “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times!”?

I actually had one of those conversations today.  But as I began saying those words to one of my kids, I heard them echoed back to me in my heart.  Couldn’t the same thing be said to me?  It’s so easy for me to point out the flaws and lack of progress in others’ growth, when I in fact struggle making meaningful progress in dealing with my own “stuff”.  Really it’s only God’s grace and mercy that keeps Him from saying the same thing to me, “How many times do I have to tell you?  When will you ever learn?!”

But He doesn’t say that.  Even though I may be singing the same song, and be on the 358th verse, His grace is sufficient.  In fact, as I come to better understand our lives as a journey of faith, I’m realizing that our growth is a lifetime process.  Our slowness in acquiring the skills of loving others and loving God shouldn’t frustrate or discourage us.  Is this not actually the very purpose of life – to be formed into the image of Christ and to increasingly walk in His ways, sharing His love with our neighbors?  If we magically became instantly transformed and “arrived” at the destination, what then would be our purpose for continuing in this life?

So while we are expected to make progress in becoming more like Christ, it isn’t going to happen overnight.  There will improvement and growth.  There will even be victory over certain struggles, addictions and unhealthy habits.  There will be new habits developed and past hurts healed.  Our thoughts, actions and behaviors will more closely align with God’s core values and our care and concern for the entirety of His creation will expand.  But we might well be singing that same song, but different verse for many years.

Come to think of it – maybe that song we keep repeating and never seem to move beyond – maybe that’s our song.  Maybe that’s the song we’ve been given to sing in this life.  The beginning verses of our song are those of struggle, temptation and sin.  The middle verses speak of hope, healing and health brought about through His mercy.  And finally the closing verses are those of love, forgiveness, and grace we share with others.  Same song, different verse.

Psalm 40:3 “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear, And will trust in the Lord.”