Looking at Ecclesiastes this week has clarified the dangers on each side of the narrow way. On the one side is the precipice of despair: all is vanity, nothing makes sense, might as well get addicted to t.v. and junk food ’cause nothing really matters anyway. On the other side is the unscaleable cliff of religious surety; the hyper confidence that all is good and clear and fine and obvious and in reach (as long as we keep side-stepping actual experiences in life, church history and even scripture).
The narrow way is that realization that we know enough not to indulge in vanity, but we don’t know enough to justify the spiritual Botox look. We live in a gap. We know that God is there and working out good and it is wise to follow him and receive his provision. What we don’t know is how all the details fit together. We come close, like medieval astronomers, but there are too many exceptions. What we are left with is the humility to say: the Messiah is our hope, we will trust in who he is, what he has done and what he says we are to be about. The way of real faith is humble gratitude and openness to surprises, good and bad, while we wait.
Ecclesiastes 12:11-14 The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. (12) My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. (13) The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (14) For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
1 Corinthians 13:9-13 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, (10) but when the TELOS (complete) comes, the partial will pass away. (11) When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. (12) 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.