"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12
Denouement: the final part of a play, film, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.
My least favorite moment while watching an interesting program is when these words pop up at the end: "To Be Continued...". I like things resolved, loose ends connected, mysteries unraveled. And I don't want to wait a week either. Similarly, it may be more realistic to read a book where the ending is anti-climatic and you are left wondering... but it is not as fun.
It is part of our nature to want to understand. God made us after his own image. He has perfect and complete knowledge of all things. We do not. Nevertheless, he built us to yearn for it; he even compels us to seek it. I think it is the prospect of understanding that piques our curiosity. It is the possibility of reconciling life as it is with an overriding eternal principle. It is the hope of someday seeing the mystery unveiled, the story explained.
What is more, God did not just wire us to want an explanation, he has also promised that we shall have it. Awfully generous of him to offer. I mean, he is not obligated. Clarification is not some inalienable right, even though we act as if it were. He is the Creator, we the creatures. Creatures have no inalienable rights. If God is nice to us, it is because he wants to be, not because we deserve it.
I could fill the rest of this post with self-indicting examples to prove that, regardless of having a handle on the theory, in practice I act like God owes me. Especially when my questions about "why" or "why not" go unanswered. Why do I react so badly when there is no immediate answer forthcoming? I turn a potential gift of grace into a bratty demand. I spoil it before it even comes to me. Such a pity... because if I were patient, I would enjoy it much more when I actually did receive it.
"Denouement" comes from a mid 18th century French word: dénouement, from dénouer 'unknot'.
For me, it aptly denotes the promised moment or period in our spiritual lives when things will be unknotted, revealed, better understood. Remember the Gadarene demoniac? For him there was no process to it, just an instant miracle, and there he was seated, peaceful and in his right mind.
At this later stage in my life, it feels like there are two parts to the promise:
Rather unexpectedly (oh, Greg of little faith), I have been granted a foretaste of what is to come. I am not thinking here about the perfect knowledge part. On the contrary, the weight of what I know that I don't know grows daily. I am referring more to the revealing, the untangling, the clearing up of things that has already started. What a blessing at my age to enjoy an untangled life, particularly, an untangled family life.
I am writing this, in part, out of sadness. Not everyone experiences this blessing. Many seem to be inching a bit further away every day from resolution and peace. Their relationships with spouses, ex-spouses, parents and children are in the toilet. Their lives are a tangled mess and getting more knotted up as time goes by. Stressed, bitter, restless, lashing out, moving out, intrigues, emotional blackmail, threats... repeating all of the same mistakes ad infinitum. Why watch a soap opera when you can be one, right? This is what happens when we do not let God be in control.
These thoughts took shape during a recent family gathering in Cancun… days of joy and pain. There is joy that comes from being together; but there is a deeper joy in that we are all, first of all, together now in the Lord. That includes everything that you can think of: grace, forbearance, forgiveness, love, transparency, understanding. There is pain that comes from the serious health problems that we watch each other deal with; pain that comes from the geographical distance between us (Washington State/Cancun).
But whether together or apart, we are not a knotted up mess. For nine days, my house was an "intrigue-free zone". We are a joyful bunch; we can relax and enjoy one another's company. This is what happens when we let God be in control.
This was not something that I would have dared to assume would happen. That would be faithless Greg again thinking more about shortcomings and mistakes, laws of sowing and reaping, and a whole list of reasons for not deserving. All the more compelling to share the blessing here… because it is a gift of grace, from a God so generous that it boggles the mind. I am so glad that he let me live to see it!
As great as this has been, it is but a foreshadowing of a larger denouement.
Perfect illumination awaits us in God's presence, where nothing will be left knotted or unresolved… no more struggling to understand… resignation transformed into eternal praise because now we do.
Won't it be something!
We are tossed and driven
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)
(original post 10.05.2013)
Greg was raised near Milwaukee, WI. He has lived outside of the United States since 1976... first in Central America and, since 1982, in Cancun, Mexico.
Concise devotions in Spanish and English, along with some lengthier essays… Designed for personal spiritual growth and to help anyone studying English or Spanish as a second language to improve their skills… Rev 14:6
To highlight one essential facet of the eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ... Rev 14:6; 2 Cor. 5:18
THANK YOU FOR READING!
"For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you." Philemon 1:7
Refreshing the Bones by Greg Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.