In a world full of endlessly sublime shades and tints, I personally have always been extremely captivated by just plain grey. Being a little ashen wren in coloring myself, I’m sympathetic. Most people think of grey as a neutral, so banal as to be nearly invisible, but that sooty shade can be positively symphonic.
Consider the plethora. Walk any downtown city and you’re surrounded by steely, skyscraper titanium. Lift your eyes further to the pallid, pearly sheen of the sky. Grey can be as soft and downy as a newborn kitten, or shouting money in the dark, rich formality of a businessman’s bespoke suit. There’s rock and roll glamor attached to gunmetal metallics and glossy patents. Don’t even get me started on the luxury of silvery cashmere. The warmth of a dove grey is unfailingly lovely; truly feminine, and beautiful blue French slate the epitome of refined elegance. Only someone as thoroughly enamored with dyes and textiles could have so deep an appreciation for the restrained perfection of the color as I do.
I’ve tried them all, so trust me when I tell you I adore grey. Long before the infamous ‘Fifty Shades’ stormed pop-culture, I embraced the moniker ‘ woman of a thousand shades of grey’ because I never met one I didn’t like. Lately however, the love affair, like most at one time or another, has begun to pall. I hate to admit it, but just plain grey has become just plain boring.
Life has a tendency to be a series of monotonous seasons, punctuated by the random, unforeseen event that really spices it up, but some periods are longer and darker than others. On a spiritual parallel, going through a long season of training or discipline can be exactly like sitting in a shroud of grey. The slightest change of gradation makes you weep for joy. There are spiritual doldrums so concentrated that you can lose expectation of ever coming out of them again.
At times, waiting on the promises of God can seem hopeless. They’re a million miles away; untouchable. Impossible that the circumstances currently surrounding us could possibly morph into the long-awaited end. Scripture tells us that we feel this way because there is a dying process actually in motion. O Happy Day.
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. John 12:24 NKJV
But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 1 Corinthians 15:35-36 NKJV
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Cor 4:7-11 NKJV
In nature, we marvel over the dramatic, death-defying process of metamorphosis. In countless species, the drab, lowly caterpillar munches its way through massive volumes of food in order to initiate the mysterious process of transformation. It weaves around itself the grey lackluster sheath of protection to hide from all eyes. Cut that thick sheath open before its time, and you find nothing but puttied, primordial ooze. One creature has literally dissolved, waiting to be reformed into another. This inexplicable process seems unduly laborious for a creature who may live only a few days once it finally emerges in its splendiferous new garments.
We are creatures of spirit, but we inhabit a physical zone. We regularly shed the skins of our old circumstances for new mantles. At times, this process is tedious and time-consuming, so we desperately require the promises of God to hang on. The Word sustains us in the deep darkness of the spiritual chrysalis. We are being transformed. It may not feel like it, but we are being transformed. At times, we have to trust the Word, more than our own senses, more than our circumstances, more than our own experience.
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1
He has by his own action given us everything that is necessary for living the truly good life, in allowing us to know the one who has called us to him, through his own glorious goodness. It is through him that God’s greatest and most precious promises have become available to us men, making it possible for you to escape the inevitable disintegration that lust producesin the world and to share in God’s essential nature. 2 Peter 1:4 NKJV
In the natural course of life, our bodies are slowly, but surely, disintegrating. To put it bluntly, we’re dying. Every day the Second Law of Thermodynamics pounds upon us, moving everything from order to chaos. But internally, the zoe life of God within us is growing. We’re moving from glory to glory, although everything external denies that action.
I’ve learned to appreciate the most minuscule of prophetic transitions; the tenderest of spiritual transformations. As much as I have appreciated and admired grey in its many manifestations, I feel a change coming on. The shell that held me inert is rapidly dissolving. The membrane of resistance is parting. What glorious colors shall come as the wings unfurl? What unique beauty will be my privilege to dance before the world? What priceless gifts will come of a life that can never be duplicated? Only those who will trust Him in days of grey will ever know.
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