T'Shuvah is, and rightfully so, often expressed in terms of a person's motion towards God. As this process develops it seems so easy to forget God's "side of the story." As Elul is a month leading into the Yomim Norim, when we face God as Judge and King more explicitly than in any other time of the year, God's "side of the story" becomes increasingly important.
I want to share a quote that illustrates this aspect of the process of t'shuvah better than any I have yet encountered. It is from C.S. Lewis' anthology of quotes from George MacDonald (a Scottish preacher/writer whom C.S. Lewis quotes often, and said of him: "I have never concealed the fact that I regarded him as my master.")
"For He regards men not as they are merely, but as they shall be; not as they shall be merely, but as they are now growing, or capable of growing, toward that image after which He made them that they might grow to it. Therefore a thousand stages, each in itself all but valueless, are of inestimable worth as the necessary and connected gradations of an infinite progress. A condition which of declension would indicate a devil, may of growth indicate a saint." (by George MacDonald, from C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald: an Anthology)
May we all carry this in our minds and hearts into Tishrei, and beyond...