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February 27, 2015


There was nothing relaxing about the award-winning Iranian film we watched last Friday. The opening scene showed a distressed couple squabbling before a divorce lawyer, and the film got increasingly intense, focusing on the complex relationships in an Iranian family. The cinematography was simple and stark, adding to the abrupt and honest feel of the film. About 30 minutes in, we were uptight and stressed. But we endured, because we knew that after another hour and a half, we'd have a resolution to the mysteries of the movie, and go to bed pleased.

Ninety minutes later, Persian script that looked a lot like credits started scrolling up the screen. 

Certainly this wasn't the end of the film, we thought. It was uncomfortably unfinished—

Which parent did the daughter choose to live with?
Did they remain in Iran or emigrate? 

What happened to the maid and her husband?
Did their creditors come for them?

Stunned, we watched until the credits finished playing, and a few logos flashed on the screen. It was true; the movie was over. A film's ending has never surprised me so much. In fact, we felt a bit abandoned: the movie raised more questions than it answered!

A few days later, I was still commenting to my husband:
That movie didn't tell us who stole the money from their apartment.

We ask only one thing of our entertainment: that it give us resolution. The story line can be complicated, but in the end, we demand completed thoughts, tied-together stories. They don't have to marry each other, they don't even have to survive, but we want to know what happens to them. And we do want a reasonably happy ending at least 70% of the time, thank-you-very-much. Hollywood movies feed what our human hearts idolize: perfect knowledge (and as often as possible, happy endings). 

We lie down on the sofa for two hours in the midst of our own complicated, unresolved life stories and we beg our media to give us an escape from real life, where the answers don't come in 120 minutes or less. And we have miniscule attention spans, so giving us a hint as to the ending at the 60-minute mark would be nice, too.

A Separation was intentionally truer to life than our usual Hollywood fare. We all have, and are, unfinished stories. We've all had relationships that seemed warm and then changed, with no explanation. Most of us remember a family that moved suddenly and made no contact again. Childhood friends come to mind once in a while, and we wonder what they're doing now. Singles wonder, will I ever marry, and if so, when? Marrieds wonder, can we have children, and when? Or worse, divorces and deaths leave questions in our minds

things that feel unfinished

because we don't understand them. Our hearts and minds are full of unfinished moments, like the nearly-empty jar of marmalade that taunts me from the fridge, or the lightweight conditioner bottle in the shower stall. I look at them and want to finish, clean, and recycle them—I want to have resolution.

Is it so wrong that we want resolution? Weren't we made for reconciliation, not for difficult relationships? Weren't we created with curious minds that want to know?  

Perhaps there's nothing wrong wishing to know, but demanding to know things that aren't revealed to us...that is wrong.

Man has never had a world where he knew all, even in the perfect Garden. We've only ever known what the Creator has revealed in His Word and His world. Man has always been expected to trust God with that which he cannot or must not know.

But in eternity future, we'll know...or will we? We often talk about chatting with Abraham, asking God our questions, or finally understanding why we went through some fiery trial. Songs like the famous Thank You have portrayed Heaven as a place where we'll find people we witnessed to or be thanked by our sponsor children. Maybe we assume that in Heaven we'll understand everything: those relationships that hurt, those questions that kept us awake, and those tragedies that almost broke us. But I wonder if we will. Because omniscience belongs only and forever to Him.

Yes, eternity vows to make clear so many things that were dim in this life. But as humans, we tend to think of a Heaven that pleases us. When we reach that day, what our eyes will be truly open to is not how great we were (by enduring some trial, or sharing truth with a stranger), but how great He is. Our eyes will be opened to His eternal reality, His omniscience. We will worship He who did indeed work all things together for good. But our focus will be less on those things, and more on the One who did those things. I don't know if we'll be asking Him: why handicaps, God? Why health problems, God? Why famine, God? Or if when we see Him, those questions will flee, and we'll do like most any in recorded history, and fall on our faces....

We'll see that He has indeed meted out justice on the earth, His righteous vengeance at last. When our own works are assessed, we'll tremble in wonder that an omniscient God could pass over us. We'll realize that He is altogether trustworthy after all, in every detail.

And all those

things that feel unfinished

will be finished,
because He finished;
It is finished.


"The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law." 

“Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
'Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!'"
—God to Job

"Then Job answered the Lord and said...
"You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know...
 Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.'”
 —Job to God

"It is finished."


"It is finished, It is done
To the world salvation comes
Hallelujah, We're alive!
Hell was silenced when you cried,
'It is finished', 'It is finished'

"...I am contented not to know,
Since Thou dost know the way." 
Then I saw 'a new heaven and a new earth,' for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away... And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!'
He said to me: 'It is done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, 
the Beginning and the End. 


  1. Thank you for this thought provoking post. I loved that "Thank You" song when I was a child. Thinking back, that song is all about us and how wonderful we are! How awful.
    "We tend to think of a Heaven that pleases us." I am certain that our pleasure will be beyond our current understanding and imagination. So, yes, heaven will be pleasing. But you are so right in pointing out that the cause of our pleasure will not be our faith that would be turned into sight or our hope that would be fulfilled -- but all the glory belongs to Yahweh! Blessed be Yahweh, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and amen.

  2. Irene, thank you for your comment! I am happy when the thoughts that are going through my mind are helpful to others, too! <3