The quest for balance is lifelong and fleeting.
Part of our reckoning with this reality means coming to grips with the fact that we won’t have every question answered before we’ll have to make a tough decision. We’ll not have the right pieces in place for the job or adequate funds to support the effort or even the confidence needed to boldly move forward when the moment calls for it. And yet, we’ll still have to do something.
At best, we do get the answers and the things we need, we make the decision, and thing go according to plan. At worst, everything will fall apart and the world will end. These are the only options. The only options.
Of course we know they aren’t. There is some happy medium there – the moments we simply identify what is the next right thing to do and we go do it. The mission is then marked by the plodding nature of it; in lieu of giant leaps, we take small steps – each one evidence of God’s grace given to help us take it.
That’s the type of reorienting we need so often, moments that invite us to become re-enchanted with the reality of who God is and what He is capable of, but also with what he is actively doing in the world around us. We are enamored once more with the grace he gives and the grace he has given. These moments come to us unblemished by the stressors of best results and perceptions of advancement and success. We are given permission to live and move freely, alive to God and leveled-out by the good news of grace, evidenced most in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Our lives are meant to be utterly and unapologetically gospel-centered. This is true balance.
Armed with this perspective, we’re allowed to become completely immersed in what God has spelled out for us to do. We are, as Tolkein puts it, busy in the work of “sub-creation” – underlings to a Most High God and filled with dignity as his image-bearers. There are other ways, of course. Our own ways of pursuing fulfillment, realizing purpose, “finding ourselves,” etc.
Then there’s this way. God’s way.
Jonathan Edwards knew this business well. Undergirding the life and ministry of one of history’s most prolific theological and philosophical minds, was a steady gaze, transfixed on the beauty of God’s grace toward sinners in the person and work of Jesus. In his Personal Narrative, Edwards wrote:
I have loved the doctrines of the gospel; they have been to my soul like green pastures. The gospel has seemed to me the richest treasure; the treasure that I have most desired, and longed that it might dwell richly in me. The way of salvation by Christ has appeared, in a general way, glorious and excellent, most pleasant and most beautiful. It has often seemed to me, that it would, in a great measure, spoil heaven, to receive it in any other way.
God, forbid that the inadequacy and inefficacy of our “other ways” spoil the richness of what heaven has to offer. God, permit our eyes to be focused on Jesus alone.
The gospel, the fulcrum. Jesus is our sure and steady.