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
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!