Not having my way
I remember the day well. I went to the city to have a few medical tests done. I got down from my bus a good 45 minutes before I was due, so I had plenty of time to treat myself to a cuppa. I went into MacDonald’s. A long queue greeted me. Oh! Was I willing to wait? No. I knew I must look elsewhere.
I wandered around for a few minutes and soon found a small Turkish food outlet that also sold tea and coffee. Before long, I received my steaming cuppa in a beautiful china mug - not a throwaway plastic cup. It cost me only $2.90 compared to the MacDonald’s price of $3.15. The seating area unlike the MacDonald’s café was empty. Perfect. I sat at a table; soft music playing around me. I enjoyed that cuppa I can tell you. In fact, I enjoyed the whole experience – much nicer than if I’d sat in a crowded café.
I went on my way afterwards with a bright smile on my face. I’d been reminded that not having my way can often be a good thing. Having my plans changed can actually bring something better. It’s tempting to think that life should always go how I plan for it. But the truth is that it rarely does. As I look back on my life, I see time after time after time when I made my own plans but what God brought my way was vastly different.
When I was doing my final year exams in school, I hoped I could enter University and study for a Science degree. But I didn’t pass my exams. I sat for my A levels again. Thankfully this time I did get through. But I still didn’t get a place at University. I was very disappointed. But, you know what? Life didn’t end there. I had many years of interesting study combined with youth ministry. Those years shaped me and formed my Christian walk, giving me a sound base for ministry all through my life.
I found work as a Computer Programmer and thrived in it. Work was so much fun. I made new friends – made good money – even fell in love with someone who spoke computer jargon. As I look back, I am delighted life didn’t go the way I planned. The way God led me was so much better and brought rich experiences.
When my son entered high school, after a 12 year break of working outside my home, I decided it was time to make a life for myself. And to contribute to the family budget. For 6 long years, my attempts at finding a job were futile. It was pretty discouraging at the time. But then…. something amazing occured. God swung back the curtains to reveal the next stage of my life. And I stepped into the exciting world of becoming a writer. The fulfillment of a childhood dream. How I've thrived on it. I haven’t made my millions (yet!) but I know I’m doing what He’s created me to do. And that makes all the difference.
This past year I've been job hunting again – not an easy process. I do know however that God is faithful. And that there is much more than a job at stake. The journey towards finding one is part of what’s important - He prunes me and makes me over. I am excited as things fall into place in my life one by one. I look back and contemplate on His gracious Hand on my life. I look ahead with glad anticipation knowing that His kingdom and His righteousness are what it’s all about. How can I not be excited?
Sometimes life doesn’t go our way. Agreed? A good thing? Definitely. God’s ways are much better than ours. Remember Joseph’s story? Remember what he told his brothers? “You intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what is being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 The truth is that life in the kingdom is exciting. Satan might throw arrows of pain and difficulty our way. But he doesn’t have the winning hand. We have God’s armour to fight him with.
We have God’s Promises.
We have God’s Protection.
Best of all, we have His Presence.
Are you discouraged today? Wondering why things happened as they did? Cling onto Him who is sovereign. The Maker of the Universe. Follow His lead. Listen to His Spirit. God will use anything and everything to work out His perfect will. The faults of others. Their unkind actions. Your own confusion. Even your own mistakes. Yes, all of it. He will come through for you as you surrender yourself to Him.
""For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways."
declares the LORD.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." Isaiah 55:9a, 12