Brief, Shining Moments

The exquisite moment is not the norm.  Now, we would like to think that times of inspiration and ecstasy would be more regular than they are, but, the truth is, they are fairly scarce.  Most of life is not spent at the optimal level.  The majority of our days are spent in normal pursuits doing the average things which are the stuff of living.  This is not to say that we don’t get mileage from our instances of intensity, but, when we compare the sheer amounts of time, we come to understand that the flashes of brilliance were rarities seen alongside the mundane.  Usain Bolt lights up the world by, occasionally, streaking 100 meters in under ten seconds, but such explosions are very occasional and reflect years of mostly unwatched training.

Each of us will spend decades in ordinary endeavors to find precious few hours in the limelight.  For some, this can be quite discouraging.  A lot of folk have not grasped the plain truth that most of life is preparation.  They have been deluded by emotional reads and productions.  Sometimes, their manifestations of disappointment can be heartbreaking, at other times, downright childish.  We must be convinced of our goals to be comforted in our efforts, and there must be an enjoyment of the journey for us to have any real peace since we are each unsure of safe landing on shore.  The truth is, good and evil grow together until the last day, and there is glory in unseen growth and unheralded deeds.

Thomas Gray wrote,
“Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flow’r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

Unpraised accomplishments are not meritless.  We strive for the prize that surely waits yet learn to appreciate the efforts that may win aplomb at the last.  There is honor is striving and doing, not only in gaining and receiving.  A former American President once said we dare not be merely spectators allowing ourselves to be numbered among the timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.  We struggle uncertainly and make uneven progress in our hopes for actualization above accolades.     

If we learn to enjoy the journey of steps and doing of deeds for their own sakes, we will not obsess when joy is not instantly realized.  Rather, we will come to understand that perfection is a fleeting and rare thing to be grasped ultimately in the future.  We learn that there is glory in the ordinary and achieve satisfaction with mixed results.  For His own reasons, God does not remove all our obstacles or expedite all our efforts.  And the majority of people do not live in unmitigated bliss.  Rather, they are involved in the struggle for life, seldom enjoying the beauty of the mountain top.  Places of real rest and refreshment will not often be enjoyed in our world cursed by sin and governed by selfishness.

It is the scarcity of things that makes them valuable.  Scripture teaches us to take the long look on our efforts.  Glimpses of grandeur may (and probably will) be fleeting in this life, but those who honor God and hold the ministry of reconciliation will shine as the brightness of the clear sky in eternity.  Until that time, the gracious minutes of hope and happiness we spend and share will serve to whet our appetites for that future day.  For future joy, Jesus counted His sufferings as loss, and we will take comfort and cheer in snippets realizing that our true delight is yet to come.  Swift passages of short duration will sustain the faithful and be more than enough to fuel our payments on the everlasting.



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