years between commas

I get stuck in the first few verses in Matthew.  My mind wanders at each comma and paragraph break.  There are years of lives lived in those pauses for punctuation and format.  The spaces are thick with years:

. . . Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab,

Boaz begot Obed by Ruth,

Obed begot Jesse,

and Jesse begot David the king . . .

. . . Uzziah begot Jotham,

Jotham begot Ahaz,

and Ahaz begot Hezekiah . . .

. . . Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon . . .

Lives lived.  Some lived well, others by a thread.  Days weighed in the balance, tipping the scales.  Years between commas.

Death, heartache, excruciating joy in an “and”.

Needy people eating, cleaning, doing laundry, taking out the trash, talking, crying, breaking, healing, planting, cultivating, falling, rising, loving, hating, flirting, laughing.










Divine intervention.

Oh, God, why is it so heavy today?

God flows through our lives and our world like underground water pipes, and overhead electrical wires, and sound waves.  Air.  We only acknowledge him when we turn on the faucet, or flip the switch.  Or listen.  Or breathe.

He is an underground spring.  He is the wind.

We live and die and struggle in between the commas and paragraph breaks, looking for him.

4 thoughts on “years between commas”

  1. I’ve thought about what my life would look like written down in some Old Testament Book…
    Then I’m reminded that the parts that are elaborated upon are usually the parts when someone screwed up big time and God put them in their place. I feel like that’s happened to me a bit… I guess I don’t know what I’d prefer- to be the one that everyone learned from “You remember that story about that Tony guy- yeah, I don’t want to do that” or the person mentioned with a life in between the commas. I guess we all serve our purposes. Maybe that’s what makes it beautiful. It’s like a secret between me and God- nobody else gets to see it, but my dirty laundry was fully known by my Creator- and He still kept me in His story.


  2. In all of those commas, detailed lists of “so-and-so begot so-and-so’s”, and names we can’t pronounce, we get a small glimpse of the meticulous, exacting nature of this awesome God we serve. For years I skimmed right by those endless lists, until I realized that they are there to show us that God’s plan has been in place, well, forever. In fact, our names are on that kind of list. I can’t wait to read it!


  3. That last line, “we live and die and struggle in between the commas,” was so beautiful. I loved this post. Thank you.

    I’ve enjoyed seeing you on my blog, and I’m glad to hear I’m influencing you Wendell Berry wise! I hope you’re enjoying his books. If you get around to it, Hannah Coulter is my favorite.


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