Speaking of Life

The Patience of God

Sometimes we can seem like we are moving toward God in small, half-steps. In this episode of Speaking of Life, Dr. Tkach reminds us of God's ultimate patience and the joy found in these small movements.

(2.8 minutes)
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Joseph Tkach

Joseph Tkach has been president of Grace Communion International since 1995. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific University. For more information about him, click here.

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You might not know who Ray Harryhausen is, but I’m sure you’ve seen some of his movies. He was the driving creative force behind such films as Clash of the Titans, Mighty Joe Young and Jason & the Argonauts. With the magic of stop-motion animation, Harryhausen brought Greek mythology to life, allowed people to fly and always helped the hero defeat the monster.

But stop-motion animation isn’t as easy as it looks. In fact, it’s a pretty grueling process. It works like this – to create the illusion of movement, an animator must move the limbs of a character a fraction of an inch before snapping a single frame. Then, they make another adjustment and snap another picture. This process repeats until, slowly but surely, the little character moves across the room. As happens from time to time, if the character falls over, the animator will have to back up and start the scene over again.

That image of incremental movement and starting over reminded me of a concept that we sometimes lose sight of: God’s patience. We know there are times when all of us fail. And when we sin, we can think that we’ve let God down one too many times. But that’s not what we see in the Bible.

“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8).

The life that Christ has called us into is one of “becoming.” We’re in motion (even if that motion can seem very, very slow at times). Our life in Christ is one of continuing transformation. I like how Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV).

God’s purpose is to perfect the beloved – his children. And while it might feel like we’re only moving a fraction of an inch (like those clay characters in the movies), from God’s perspective, he is being faithful, committed to seeing us through to the end. He has the ultimate plan for our lives and knows that his will for us has been perfected in Christ our Savior.

So start up the projector! Let’s turn on a Harryhausen movie, knowing that with Christ, there’s no monster big enough to stop us!

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