Wouldn’t it be great if I could just pick and choose which events and circumstances I wanted to be part of my life experience? If I could select options as on a multiple-choice exam or poll, I would not have chosen
- The terrifying ordeal of piano examinations and performing in public
- Being involved in a serious car accident as a child with my family
- Feeling so homesick during my first year away at college
- Suffering through clinical depression
- Losing my older sister to cancer
- Enduring a spiritual “desert” for three years
- Saying good-bye to a dearly loved ministry after three decades
- Watching loved ones experience heart-breaking relationship difficulties
- Living with serious arthritis and surgeries
I don’t have the luxury of choosing the ingredients that make up my life. This morning our pastor related this to eating your favorite cake. Some ingredients, such as flour and raw eggs, taste awful on their own. But as he said, when you put them all together with other items, the end result tastes sweet and satisfying.
In Ecclesiastes 3:9-11, Solomon said, “What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from the beginning to the end.” (NLT)
I don’t particularly like to think of God “bringing” the above events into my life. But my understanding of the ways and means of Almighty God is very small. My “scope” is limited.
Over the past year, I’ve often observed the way my kitty’s eyes adapt to different situations. In broad daylight, his pupils become vertically narrow. I’ve often wondered if this constricts his span of vision, but in reality it is a protective feature to filter out damaging light. When Symba is playful, his pupils may widen a bit and he has that “hunter” stance. If he is startled or very excited, his pupils become large, round, and almost spooky. These changes happen in fractions of a second, much faster than in humans. At night, when Symba is supposed to be settling down to sleep in my bedroom, I’m often amazed, and annoyed, that he can find a toy under the cedar chest that he hid there during the day! Along with his vision, he uses his senses of acute hearing and feeling with his whiskers to guide him to find what he is seeking.
Spiritually speaking, I wish during the dark times of my life I had the nighttime vision of my kitty. To be able to expand my understanding and ability to see the situation from a broader perspective would make the tough times easier to endure. In lieu of other “senses” to direct my thoughts, emotions, and expectations, I must rely on God’s Holy Spirit within me to see what I cannot see, hear what I cannot hear, and know what I may never know.
Last time, I spoke of Corrie Ten Boom, an amazing lady I have come to admire greatly. The dark times of her life were much more traumatic than mine. Our stories all differ in complexity based on culture, the era in which we live, upbringing and family dynamics, relationships, economic factors, and values. What matters most is the foundational truths that shape our belief system and allow us to put our trust in another.
For Corrie, her trust in God was developed as a young child as she grew up in a home where God was loved and respected. At five years old, with her mother at her side, she accepted Jesus into her heart.
“It was so simple,” Corrie says, “and yet Jesus Christ says that we all must come as children, no matter what our age, social standing, or intellectual background.”[i] It was her faith in Christ that kept her grounded throughout her life both in good times and bad.
I, as well, invited Jesus to live in my heart at the tender age of four, my older sister beside me. I’ve often been asked, is it possible for a child that young to make such a knowledgeable and life-changing decision? My conviction is the same as Corrie’s,
“I believe a child should be led, not left to wander.”[ii] Even Jesus instructed adults to,
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
I have the responsibility to lead children, and people of all ages, to know God in a personal way and to realize the purpose that He has designed for each life.
Until next time,