In Act II of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Antonio says to Sabastian, “What’s past is prologue.”
I’ve been thinking of that for the last hour or so… what’s past – the trials the difficulties the struggles, are really just the beginning. They are the prologue. They are what the author writes to set the stage for the act to come.
In scripture, it is Joseph saying of the long drawn-out struggles of his life, “What you meant for bad, God meant for good.” It is Job coming to a position of humble faith beneath a God bigger, grander and wiser than Job’s questions and frustrations. It is the resurrection and the New Covenant charting a new course and opening up a new chapter following all that had come before – what’s past is prologue.
I once gave a talk that I called, “Between the Gardens.” The central theme of the whole message was that we live ‘between the gardens’ – that is, between the first garden in Eden and the final garden in the Day to come. Our season is the messy middle. We aspire to, rather than live in, utopia.
In this chapter of the story, much of what we are called to is a call to suffer. We know pain. We experience brokenness. We endure heartache, shame and loss.
We, like Antonio however, need to see this as simply setting the scene for the really great stuff. We are living the prologue and the final drama dances on the horizon. We know it by intuition. We sense it by desire. We reach for it by necessity.
I’m sure my heart isn’t the only one that cries out for answers, quick fixes or heavy doses of “medication” to numb the pain.
Cheap answers and religious quick fixes don’t really work and leave me wanting something solid – hoping for bedrock.
The real challenge to faith is to grab hold of an Author who is far greater and wiser than us. It is believing that the goal right now is not for the plot to resolve, but for the stage to be set. It is feeding on hope rather than comfort. It is trusting His reassuring words that beauty does come from ashes, darkness does turn to light and when we, as strangers, return to our heavenly home… what’s past will have been prologue.