Thinking It Through: 7 Lessons from the Construction Zone
By Nate Bramsen
When thinking of construction zones, words quickly come to mind: inconvenience, interruption, impediment. Philippians 1:6 tells us: “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NIV) Friends, we are in a construction zone. God could have chosen to make sanctification instantaneous, but instead, He uses the construction zone called life. When we feel frustrated with circumstances, others, and ourselves, perhaps we are neglecting to recognize this reality.
On a recent road trip, I traversed more than a few construction zones, which taught me seven lessons that enlarged my vision, enhanced my perspective, and exchanged my frustration for focus.
1. There is an end in mind.
A construction site might seem chaotic and confusing. But be confident. Someone began the work with the big picture in mind. No road construction starts without a plan and a blueprint. When God started His work in you, His blueprint included the design to conform you into the image of His Son: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2)
2. There will be numerous warning signs.
Construction sites include road signs warning of danger. We face many hazards as we pass through the construction zone of life. But with the warnings come instructions and promises: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)
3. The road may be bumpy.
Ultimately, construction zones are intended to make things smoother and more eﬃcient, though they may temporarily require road shoulders and detours to accomplish the work. Do not be alarmed when life seems rough and bumpy. Be encouraged. God must break us of our comfort and complacency. He is doing a great work in you and me: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light aﬄiction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Corinthians 4:16–17)
4. Expect delays.
Do not be surprised when you need to slow down and patiently proceed. God is not on your clock. In His perfect time and way, He will complete the work, as promised in Philippians 1:6.
5. Things can get dirty.
You may have just washed your vehicle, and then, you find yourself driving through an unexpected construction zone. Now, your work feels like a waste. Similarly, others around you may be worn, exhausted, or just plain dirty. Don’t be deceived by the enemy, who wants you to be critical of your fellow believers passing through life’s construction zones. Rather than reacting in frustration, may we respond with the patience that God demonstrates toward us.
6. It will not last forever.
No one drives through a construction zone saying, “I hope it stays like this forever.” As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” The last phase for the believer is “with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17, NIV)
7. We quickly forget the construction took place.
When driving on a smooth road, how quickly we forget the work, time, delays, pain, and frustration that went into making the road what it is. In our lives, how rarely we recall the work God has done to mold our character, opportunities, and talents. Take a moment to thank God for His patient work in your life and in the lives of those around you.
One day we will be able to echo the epitaph displayed on Ruth Graham’s gravestone: “End of construction. Thank you for your patience.” n
Nate Bramsen serves in Other Overseas Service (MPH Day 28).