Life in the gray

I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;

Ecclesiastes 3:10-12

I have such a tendency to see the Bible as being so black and white. It so clearly states right from wrong, yet I feel like I live in the gray, so black and white must not really apply to me?!? I thought of the how I gloss over the story of the prodigal son like the time it takes to read the story is how long the father waits for the son to return. In the time it takes to read the story the son blows through his inheritance and is eating with pigs. We don’t get a timeline. We don’t know how long he waited for that son to return. We don’t know what dad did while he waited. Was he grouchy? Did he look for him everyday? Did he whine about him to his wives, servants or friends? (I’m pretty sure the Bible word for whine is lament, by the way) Did he send out a search party? Did he hire a private investigator to follow him and make sure he was okay?

The story seems to speed through the hard and focus on the celebration – hmmm? Could that be the point? I remember when my kids were little I thought they would never be out of diapers then someone pointed out that there are no kids that go to college in diapers. When we’re in the hard stuff we tend to hyper focus on the hard, to waller in the black as though the white has been removed. But life in the gray is what living for eternity looks like. It’s ugly, it hurts, it disappoints, it looks like it needs to be cleaned, there is a tacky residue but it is not forever. It’s just now, just today. So to me I think it’s all pretty much gray. We came from darkness, “The world was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the earth.” (Gen 1:2 ESV) we are headed to eternity, that in our minds is bright and shiny–so that’s our black and white, all this in the middle is gray.

Like I know the end of the story for the prodigal son, I also know the end of my story, I just don’t have a grasp on the timeline! How long will I wait? How long will I endure? Why must I struggle with the same things over and over? When will I ever learn? The answer to all these questions is: Get over yourself, it doesn’t matter!! Because there is nothing better for me than to be joyful and to do good as long as I live, period, the end.

If eternity is the plan then it makes no sense to shrink your living down to the needs and wants of this little moment.

Paul David Tripp