It was about 25 years ago; I was at a feast in a Cree community when I overheard a conversation from the kitchen. A Granny was telling a young teen to take this first place out to one of the ‘grey heads’. The girl came out of the kitchen looked around and then like a heat seeking missile honed in on me! I looked around the room, and though I was only in my mid thirties I was indeed the ‘grey head’ in the crowd. I was not a ‘grey head’ by virtue of age and wisdom but was one by genetics only. (I tell my family grey hair is an inherited trait I get mine from my children.) Even though I did not deserve the honour of being served first because of my sagacity I enjoyed the savoury meal while it was still steaming.
This week I celebrated my 60th birthday and I wondered if I have grown sager over the intervening years. Milestones are great times for reflection and so I wanted to use this one well. What is it that I have learned over those years that as a ‘grey head’ I should pass on?
Of course I have acquired impressive amounts of trivia, but what have I learned of real lasting value. I considered and discarded a good number of things I have learned. Many of these things are quite helpful but seemed to lack the gravitas that being a true ‘grey head’ would require. Then I recalled a conversation a reporter had with Karl Barth. The reporter asked what the deepest or greatest truth was. Barth replied “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
It was then that it hit me that the one thing which I have come to know, in a way far beyond intellectual assent, is that God is good!
Not everything that happens to us is good, and when hard things occur my previous (non-grey head) default was to doubt God’s goodness. Eventually through each set back I have recovered and returned to the position of trust in His goodness and over time the length of my wandering from this truth became shorter. Now I believe my default is to God’s goodness though I am certainly capable of drifting from this position.
When we think things are not fair or that things will not work out for us we fall easily into one of two errs: either God is not sovereign, or that He is not good.
If I have any role as a true ‘grey head’ I would suggest that we cling tightly to the truth that “God is good all the time and all the time God is good.” This is place to hold on to in a storm.