The Myth of Before and After

  I think television sitcoms have ruined us.

 

We watch them and think that resolution is normal. That we should expect that people make up after fights. That overtime, people learn from their mistakes. That we grow and develop and mature.

 

We approach faith with this expectation for resolution. There are so many before and after stories of conversion. We were this way before Christ, but now we are different. Better.

 

We like to treat life like a math equation. Before Me + Faith = A Better Me. An After Me.

 

In reality, life is not linear. There is not so much an after, but a during.

 

Life is less like a math equation, and more like a painting. Each day, more layers of paint are added to us. Layers that effect how we reflect the light. Some layers that give us depth and richness. Some layers that will need to be painted over by the Artist at some point in the future.

 

unfinished masterpiecesWe are unfinished masterpieces. Beautiful and redeemed, but far from complete.

 

I think about this with the story of the prodigal son. We know he ran away. We know there was a party when he came back. But what about life after the party? Did he stay mistake free? Did he and his brother reconcile? Did he squander money and run away again? If so, what was the welcome like the next time?

 

There is so much we don’t know. But what we do know is this. The Father’s love for him never changed.

 

In the before, in the after, and in the during that makes up this long and layered life, the Father is never far from us. He never stops painting. He never stops revealing beauty in and through our lives. He never stops giving us His love.

 

Five Minute FridayThis post is linking up with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. A weekly prompt with strict instructions: write for 5 minutes and post. No over-editing. No do-overs. An exercise in freedom. A way to let go of perfectionism. An exercise for some not often used writing muscles. Read more posts or link up over there. Today's prompt was: After.

 

P.S. There is still time to enter the give away of the Life After Art book. A winner will be announced at 2 pm central time. Simply leave a comment on this post to enter!