WS Update: Life in the Gaps

November 14, 2022

I remember years ago hearing someone point out that there are sometimes years, even decades, between verses in the Bible. It’s obvious when you stop to think about it. If the Bible recorded every detail of every character’s life, it wouldn’t have been finished. I’m reminded of what James Richardson says of his own writing, “Why shouldn’t you read this the way I wrote it, with days between the lines?” Similarly, reading these stories can take a lifetime. 

Most of life is in the gaps. Gaps between dream and fulfillment, test and the diagnosis, injury and healing, the kingdom of heaven here but not yet. But that’s the shape of a life of mission. God tells Abraham, “Go…to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). In other words, wander.

John Ruskin, a 19th-century thinker, writer, and art critic, wrote about these gaps:

There is no music in a rest, but there is the making of music in it. In our whole life-melody the music is broken off here and there by ‘rests,’ and we foolishly think we have come to the end of the tune. God sends a time of forced leisure, sickness, disappointed plans, frustrated efforts, and makes a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives, and we lament that our voices must be silent, and our part missing in the music which ever goes up to the ear of the Creator. How does the musician read the rest? See him beat the time with unvarying count, and catch up the next note true and steady, as if no breaking place had come between.  

Not without design does God write the music of our lives. But it is ours to learn the tune, and not be dismayed at the ‘rests.’

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