In the era before computers (there really was one!) vacationers traveled with camera cases in which they kept rolls of light-sensitive film. As photo-worthy occasions arose, those cameras were frantically removed from the case and aimed at the desired subject, not always before the moment passed. An inconvenience existed when the film was completely used and had to be rewound, removed from the camera, and placed back in the black cylinder. Following this, a new roll had to be loaded and advanced to exposure #1. A major technology advance was the auto-rewind when the roll was full (embarrassing, however, in a hushed, formal setting, as the now-full 36-exposure roll of film rudely whirred and cranked its way, at a snail’s pace, back to the beginning!). When the vacation was over, all those rolls of film were taken to a camera shop for a week-long developing. It was always with great anticipation that those precious, captured memories were brought home to see, for the first time. Inevitably, there would be a few shots that were blurry or were poorly taken, with loved ones’ heads missing, or with thumb close-ups (these results, in particular, were helpful in convincing me not to pursue a career in photography).

That quick trip down memory lane was brought on by my post-Pentecost pondering on one verse in Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth: “For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture.” (13:12a, TPT) Like Paul, I think at best we see ourselves dimly, we perceive our role in the Kingdom even more dimly, we understand the big picture (the meta-narrative) of God’s plan for us about as much as we understand an out-of-focus photo. We see what we see.

It may be that our continuing lack of clarity is a vital, lifesaving, provision of the Father to teach us submission to His loving authority. Pilots landing a plane in dense fog are obligated to trust the instrument panel in front of them, and the instructions coming from the control tower. We, too, are obligated to trust Salvation’s abundant and loving provisions and the voice of the Holy Spirit. Each of life’s ‘fog landings,‘ though extremely uncomfortable, trains us away from our own keen intelligence and toward the trustworthy infallibility of our Lord and Savior and his still, small voice.

Hear one Apostle’s now life-experienced voice in 2 Peter 1: “Everything we could ever need for life and godliness has already been deposited in us by [God’s] divine power. . . So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness addunderstanding, and to understanding add the strength of self-control (one can only imagine what it took for him to arrive there!), and to self-control, add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love.” (vv.3, 5-7)

You can take instant digital photos, but faith gets ‘developed’ in a darkroom, like a relationship, one ‘roll of film’ at a time. It all adds up!  PD

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