Before and After

1 03 2013

Grinning has become a round-the-clock happening at our house. My son just can’t stop smiling. A couple of days ago, he sat in the chair and the orthodontist took his braces off. A smooth, straight, bright smile is the result of months and months of wires, chains, and rubber bands.

We have been waiting anxiously for this day. For weeks, my son has been questioning, “How much longer?” Looking in the mirror, he has watched gaps disappear, lines straighten, and everything align. He bugged the doctor for the only news that mattered – the date the braces would come off. Finally, the appointment was made and the celebration planned.

At the end of his favorite orthodontist appointment ever, there was one more piece of work that had to be done. The assistant took out a camera, announcing that she needed to take “after” pictures. Smiling and posing, my son filled the photographs with his new smile.

Braces have helped me see Jesus. My soul starts out crooked, bent, misaligned, and unhealthy. The Spirit works in my life to transform me into something I can never be on my own. Forming Christ in me has required deep surgery, cleaning, pulling, prodding, yanking, investing, and molding. There are “dos” and “don’ts” which help the process move along more smoothly. I get impatient, wanting to rush the process, anxious to see results. Right now, all I can see is the Before picture and the work being done in the mirror. But someday, there will be an After picture that will make it all worthwhile.

My Jesus Resolution today is to smile. God is working on me. He is transforming me day by day, little by little, into the image of Jesus. He treats me with love. He heals me with grace. He gently, persistently, and patiently works in me every day to bring me into closer alignment with Christ. Today when I get anxious or impatient with the process, I am going to smile and remember the After picture that is my goal. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” – 1 John 3:2



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