Are you disappointed in the snapshots of your life today? Are your pictures less than perfect–marred with disappointments or grief? Perhaps you have not yet found that one true love–or one you loved has left or died? Maybe your home no longer resonates with laughter and dreams or the work you thrived on dwindled away. If that is what you see in your life today, I invite you to celebrate. Real life doesn’t fit on a flat screen tv–and is not a pretty picture with everything in place. Real life has beauty and resonance that takes time to be visible.
Living for picture-perfect moments kills: It kills life, and it kills joy. Real life requires depth that comes only through the vulnerability brought by love. There is a deep longing for love in every heart; it was put there by the Creator. It is a divine gift that propels and strengthens us to pursue real life! That longing draws us into depths that shape us into the image of God Himself; it shapes us into love! But love doesn’t always photograph well!
The lens of time, though, transforms real life and love into unimaginable beauty! The Scriptures are a great place to see that lens in action. When we gaze back in time to contemplate the nativity or even the Cross, we see beauty and love. The participants of those images likely had a bit more trouble seeing the perfection. Mary and Joseph were in the midst of a marriage launched into shame. They were on a government-forced trip that put them in a barn for the delivery of the Chosen Child. An emergency trip to Egypt, a child lost on a journey and fears of insanity for that same child fill the coming decades. Then, just thirty-odd years later, Mary would watch that same child unjustly condemned to die a cursed death. The Kodak moments were not coming in fast and furious to say the least. As we look through that lens of time, though, we see the purposes of God. Life and love is vibrant, dimensional and imperfect.
Love is our design; it is life and not subject to our orchestration and picture-perfect design. Real love has to include those attributes of 1 Corinthians 13; they gleam forth only in the marred images of life. It isn’t love we see in the postcard moments. We see love in the spouse who suffers and forgives; we see love in grieving hearts that press on for others; we see love in tired parents patiently enduring toddler tantrums. So, if your life isn’t fitting in a picture-perfect image: REJOICE. You are living in the dimension of love. Ask God to show you what love looks like in the midst of your shadows. It is there; He is there waiting to be found.