My mom calls out as she heads up to bed, “don’t forget your devo for tomorrow!”
Believe me, we’ve been here before. One of the many perks of being Lori MacMath‘s daughter is that she extends more than a little grace when it comes to turning these articles in. Thanks, mom. Except, per usual, I’m staring blankly at my screen. This time, twenty-two drafts stare back at me.
Twenty-two. That’s a whole lot of unfinished pieces of writing, if you ask me.
You could call it 22 ideas, 22 beginnings, 22 glimpses into something that feels much bigger than myself, 22 pieces of my heart, 22 stories, memories, and lessons of walking with the Lord. But for as beautiful and poetic and all of those things sound, at the end of the day they are simply drafts. Unfinished. Incomplete. Fragmented. Less than whole. Something I can’t post. So I sit here disappointed with the drafts.
What constitutes this difference between post and draft? Resolution. Answers. Summary. The pastoral “3 steps to take home” climax at the end of a sermon. It’s the bow that gets tied around the present or having a 30-second elevator pitch. It’s what compels us to put puzzles together and why it bothers us when a piece is missing. We want completion, fullness, finality, and understanding. We know that all good writing has a thesis that ties the whole piece together. So what do you do when you can’t seen to find the thesis? When conclusions are elusive, summaries seem far, and life is full of more cliff-hangers than epilogues…
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5
I don’t have any good three-point devos right now. I can’t seem to wrap up any of the 22 drafts I’ve started. I don’t have answers when my sister comes home from work and tells me about the cards she addressed for thousands of parents who have lost a child. I don’t have a clear way to articulate everything that’s happened with my body, health, and heart these past ten years or what it means that things seem to be changing. I can’t put into words all that I’ve felt, seen, and ultimately can’t begin to understand as I watched one of my best friend’s grieve her dad’s passing. There isn’t a blog post big enough for everything that my recent work with refugees has shown me; even if there was, I don’t even have the words with which to articulate it. Yet, I think that is all more okay than we sometimes allow it to be.
It’s okay to feel like parts of life are still in draft mode. To have thoughts without a thesis, hopes that are unwritten, circumstances that seemed tangled, and questions that are unanswered. More often than not I don’t have answers, summaries, or bows to tie on everything the Lord is doing. And that’s okay. There’s grace in the longing; the truth about our ongoing story reminds us of our hope in the finale.
Unfulfilled longings. Unmet expectations. Waiting. Growing. Learning. Questioning. Growing. More waiting. Living.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4
It’s in our nature to want resolution because ultimately and eternally that is what we will have. Completion and wholeness, dressed fully and perfectly in the righteousness of Christ before the throne. Our lives are caught in the editing department until the day we see Him face to face. Piece by piece our story is being written – unfinished and fragmented as it may feel until that day. It’s not on hold, it isn’t broken; it’s just in draft mode.
So I’ll hit publish tonight. Because as unfinished as we may feel, we learn to live, with fullness, in the tension of the unfinished. Living with the hope of an ending that will be more whole, beautiful, and complete than the greatest “happily ever after, the end.”
surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel?
will I dance for You, Jesus, or in awe of You be still?
will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall?
will I sing hallelujah? will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine…when all I will do is forever worship You.
(Bart Millard // Mercy Me)