Recovering from surgery gives one lots of time to do sedentary activities (not so fun). So i've watched lots of Netflix movies. They all have a beginning, middle, and end --- and all through the beginning and middle ---- it's the end that is the underlying focus.
Will she marry him? Will they survive? Can they save the world? Will they get back together? How will they ever make it? Will the bad guys win?
Life is so much like that. Well -- maybe we are not actually pondering the actual "end" (death) --- but most people are living today wondering "how is this going to turn out after all ...?"
The TV screen or books or sporting events ---- most everything that entertains us --- will let us experience the beginning, middle, and end in a relatively short span of time. We like for things to come quickly, to happen fast, we don't want to wait, to savor, to trust, to linger...
Our culture and our intelligence has done it to us ---- we are the product of the world around us. Eager for efficiency, we want it in every area of our lives: our food, our entertainment, our plans, etc.
"I'll take that pizza to go and will pick it up in 20 minutes." No shopping for the ingredients (the beginning), no laughing together in the kitchen while preparing it (the middle), we want to jump straight to "the end" when the hot slice of cheesy wonder is in our hands.
"I'll watch the movie in the comfort of my best chair and know the conclusion in less than 2 hours." Sadly, many people are less willing to engage in "life" themselves and make new friends (the beginning), and spend time together and learn about what works in the friendship and what doesn't work (the middle). Many people, both young and old alike, would rather just watch the movie or sitcom on tv and get the false sense of experiencing life. Opting to "watch" others live a fake life that can produce the end results within an hour or two rather than go through the long days, months, years, lifetime ---- of living out the full beginning, middle and end. Reality shows are proof --- many people would rather watch others "live" than do it themselves. (Even if it is fake and drama infused.) With the predominant predictions of Counseling to be one of the top 5 careers with no decline expected --- ever ---- it has to make us wonder if fast, false, rush to the grand finale living is best.
"I'd like to go ahead and purchase that more expensive item, even though my income doesn't exactly line up with it, but i can manage it through payments and i'm willing to take the hit on interest." (Because i don't want to live within my means and begin with a less expensive one (the beginning), then build up to a nicer one (the middle), and finally, after all my finances are truthfully in order, get the expensive one i've always dreamed of (the grand finale) --- i'll skip all that to get to the "end" right now... because the world financial system has ways that can make it happen for me now. Why should i wait?)
The world around us has dangerously conditioned us to having the means to forgo or shorten the beginnings and the middles and rush right into the grand finale moments ----- that should take lots of lingering, pondering, wonderful minutes, days, months, and years to embrace.
Kids have learned it from their parents ----- and they wonder ---- "why wait", when i can have it now...? (Oh God... so much is taught to our children --- without words.)
Each of us faces this ---- and we each must choose.
Am i willing to LIVE in the now and work towards the days ahead without focusing on and craving to "know" how it will work out? Am i willing to not see clearly now and wait for the fog to clear, trusting that the weather will clear and the sun will shine bright and i'll be able to see it all as clearly as God sees it --- when the time comes?
Our tv and world might try to spoon feed us ---- turbo reality. But our Lord has something very different in mind.
He wants us to become friends with waiting, trusting, lingering, anticipating. Those are friends HE can do much with in our lives.
And while we wait ----- for the pizza to bake in the oven, while we wait for real life relationships to bloom and grow, while we wait for the nicer things and enjoy the good things we have now (being content with what we have) --- while we wait, we are given very specific instructions ----- from God ----in the next verse...
"But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation; Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13 (The Message)
Even in this verse ---- GOD saves the "best" till last.
I confess ---- only when i "reach for HIS robe" am i able to step away from the madness and pressures of this world ---- and make another run at doing this whole "life" thing God's way.
And may we not miss these words --- "knowing Him directly just as He knows us!" in verse 12. If we grow weary in the beginning and middle parts --- we will miss out on the sweetness that comes in those times of knowing HIM. And that ---- would be the greatest loss of all.
One thing is for sure though --- i don't want the quick way --- i'd like to taste the fullness of life under the pen of the Author. And to trust HIM steadily, hope unswervingly, and love extravagantly in the meantime ----- yeah --- i'll sign up for that.
"We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." (The Message)
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." (KJV)
"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (NIV)
Photos taken by Maggie in Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, and on Cumberland Island, GA.