As you read this title, do you tend to agree or disagree?
Some of us are free spirits that like to take life as it comes and enjoy our days unscripted. It feels better to us that way and gives us room for doing what we want to do when we want to do it. We feel more relaxed when there is no “demand” for our time or a schedule.
The problem with that desire is that adulthood brings with it responsibilities and goals that interfere with most of our days being that way. Our employer usually has a time we are to arrive and leave, work that he is paying us to accomplish within a specified timeframe. We may not like the parameters but growing up means accepting more of our days will belong in this category even if days away from work give us more freedom.
Young adults fresh from college or other training are sometimes shocked to discover the new job they have is not always to their liking and find it hard to adjust after idealizing what this new season might look like. How we navigate that tension within us will be key to what follows.
We may well be tempted to pursue comfort at all costs rather than deal with imperfect working conditions, inconvenience, frustration, confusion, and more. We might be even more troubled if our faith walk convinced us that God had opened this new door for us and because of that we anticipated things would be going far better than they are.
Sometimes we really do like a script because we would like to skip ahead a few pages and see what happens next or how things work out in the end. It gives us the illusion that we may have some semblance of control over potential turns in the road that we do not like.
If we are trusting God with our life and direction, we can lose sight of this passage:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
God’s path, interruption, or disruption of our plan for us may make no sense at all. Why would He take us this way? This certainly must not be the right script for me.
Once we start debating that in our head it inevitably leads us to what Larry Crabb says are three choices in his book When God’s Ways Make No Sense:
“Resist and run. Distort and deny. Tremble and trust.”
“When we realize that God’s way of running the world and guiding our lives make no sense, tremble. Tremble before a God whose thoughts and ways are far above our thoughts and ways about what the truly good life is and how to live it. Feel our confusion. Own our doubts. Embrace our fears. Face our disappointment. Experience our anguish. Then trust…”
That can only begin to happen if we hold the steady belief that God is good. Saying that brings to mind those famous lines in the conversation between the beavers and the children in C.S. Lewis’ classic, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, as they ask about Aslan and if he is safe. It’s perfect:
“Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
God knows us better than we know ourselves.
We look at the backside of a tapestry and it seems like the colors and textures make no sense as He weaves them into our lives. But He sees the opposite side and the stunning beauty of his handiwork.
You see, He knows what those darker threads and knotted places can accomplish in our lives to develop more of his character and fulfill his purposes. He knows that without them, the bright lovely colors and smooth textures we like so much will never really look all that spectacular.
He has the original design, created when He created each of us.
Does that mean we have no choice and are merely puppets?
Not at all, but sometimes when we do not “tremble and trust” and choose what seems like an easier way, we will actually add more knots and dark threads that could alter the better image He has in mind.
Larry Crabb points to why trembling is the best choice:
“Tremble before the incomprehensible God and trust that He is good. Trust that His love is committed to our growing awareness of the deepest and happiest well-being that’s available to us now, that His love will lead us into an eternity where we will know every delight we were created to enjoy. Gaze on the cross. Remember Christ’s death. Nowhere is the love of the incomprehensible God more fully and clearly displayed. But always remember: tastes now, the full banquet later.”
And remember that our finite minds could never have imagined the script that included a cruel cross for our ransom. That kind of love eclipses our capacity to fully grasp.