I remember that moment in my college studies when it was pointed out to me that history was hardly static and that periodization, the act of splicing history into reasonable, succinct bites, necessarily altered the meaning of those events it sought to contain.
The stories of our own lives, our own journeys, are told and retold. We re-imagine the significance of certain events in light of others, and every once in awhile we feel blessed to look back and see what we believe to be the hand of God. That type of perspective is other-worldly, not because God only blessed us with bite-sized intelligence, but because God and life only lends each moment with bite-sized grace.
If you’re like me, you try to gobble grace in bigger bites. You get really gluttonous and really greedy, and you think you could live life a bit better, certainly more faithfully, if God would just give you that kind of landscape, big-picture, historic panorama vision. I feel like this most of the time.
And then there are the days when I sit in silence and listen for God, and I know, fully and with great freedom, that these seasons that supposedly lie in between that we all feel, these days of waiting, these are God’s, too.
I know this because other faithful people around me confirm it and live it, and they struggle, too.
I read a line on facebook the other morning that said, “Perspective: Abraham waited 25 years, Joseph 13 years, Moses 40 years, Jesus 30 years. If you’re in a waiting season, you’re in good company.”
What a comfort to know that we’re not the only ones who wait and wonder and…stumble.
Just the other day I mentioned to a professor that a paper I’d written and been proud of had become a stumbling block toward developing my dissertation. The realization of the fact was freeing–perhaps I could now move forward. She responded differently, jubilantly, with a line I’ve never heard or thought I would, “Oh that’s good, stumbling blocks are good!” she purred.
We can’t really learn anything if we don’t stumble, but we’re also remiss if we think we’re bound for a life where we stumble no more. This morning a friend of mine told me that after a loved one died, she was told there’d be suffering, followed by healing, followed by victory.
We began to muse together that, what if while we’re stumbling, while we’re waiting, there is also resurrecting? What if what’s in between is victory? What if this moment isn’t between what’s next, what’s holy, and what’s God’s, but this moment accepted, embraced, and faithfully swallowed is grace incarnate?
On Wednesday I wrote that the world seems so full of saturated with pain and heartache lately I feel as if it would burst. If anything, over the last few days the messiness of life has started to seep out of those seams with even greater gravity. And if you’re like me, despite the above revelations, at moments like these you’ll continue to yearn for God’s panoramic vistas, you’ll be tricked into trusting in your own powers of perspective, into concluding that victory is a sham and resurrection fleeting.
But all the while you’ll have been looking to the horizon, to the mountains, onward and forward, when God was right beside you offering a hand, a shoulder, and rest for your weary head. Friends, look around–you’re in good company, you’re already victorious, you’re being offered a sliver of grace.
So don’t miss the resurrecting in the waiting, the stumbling, in the seasons between.