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Please be patient-God isn’t finished with me yet

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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A cedar that I encountered while hiking this weekend (Credit: Jim Denison)

When I was in high school, our version of the “WWJD” (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelet was a button imprinted with the letters, PBPGIFWMY.  When asked, we explained that the initials stood for the request, “Please be patient—God isn’t finished with me yet.”

Hiking over the weekend, I encountered a cedar tree that brought those letters to mind.  From a distance, it looked like any other cedar in the area.  Up close, its origins demonstrated its uniqueness.  It had begun life under a large, flat rock that must have outweighed it like an elephant standing on an ant.  But the cedar persisted and over the years pushed that rock back as it grew to maturity.  If I had seen it as a tiny sapling, I would never have imagined that it could become so tall and strong.

These thoughts coalesced in my mind this morning as I read Acts 9, the conversion of Saul of Tarsus.  This infamous persecutor of Christians was complicit in the illegal execution of Stephen (Acts 7:58; 8:1).  He then went on a rampage, “breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples” (Acts 9:1).  Who would have imagined that he would become the most famous Christian in history?

As you know, Saul was on his way to Damascus to arrest believers there when he encountered the risen Christ and was dramatically converted.  Over time he fulfilled God’s call “to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15).  Half the New Testament came from his pen.  His theological brilliance and missionary effectiveness continue to shape human history today.

The cedar that impressed me over the weekend was only further along than saplings under other rocks I could not see.  So it is for the souls you’ll encounter today—none of them is yet what God intends them fully to be.  Nor are you.  Don’t give up on anyone you know, least of all yourself.