How many of you watch Hallmark movies? My husband watches them with me, and can always predict the ending. I mean they are pretty much all the same, there aren’t many plot twists that surprise him. The cliff notes version is usually guy meets girl (or reunites with his high school love), girl is committed to someone she isn’t in love with, and eventually, guy and girl live happily ever after. If the movie is about a prince, he falls in love with a commoner but someone in the family stands in the way of their happily ever after, only for her to show up at the ball looking like Cinderella and she gets the prince. Happens every time. Sorry for the spoiler’s friends!
But life isn’t as predictable as a Hallmark movie.
And usually, my script of how things should go is far from the story that actually plays out. Like last week…
I had figured out what I was going to make for dinner, went shopping for everything I would need, and my husband had thoughtfully bought flowers so our table looked complete for the women that would come over that night. I always put special thought into what I am going to cook when I have friends over and that night was no different. It would be a delicious dinner, with a favorite cake for dessert.
Then my husband calls me to tell me that he was diagnosed with a double ear infection and a sinus infection. That coupled with the fact that a few days earlier I had a friend over, and my son peaked out of his room more than once to inform us that we were being too loud and that we needed to be quiet because we would wake Olivia, made it clear that I couldn’t have my gathering as I had hoped.
So we went for pizza. At first, I was a little disappointed that my plan for a nice dinner for the women wasn’t going to work out. But as the night went on, I realized that it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter because it wasn’t about my idea of perfection for the evening, but instead walking through the challenges and not giving up. It was still a wonderful night.
This seems so simple, because so what we had pizza?
But this can reflect the bigger challenges of life, the ones that are not so easy to embrace. The big challenges can leave you wanting to turn and run the other direction, or maybe even wondering if what is before you is from God if it is just so hard.
I have been there, where the weight of the unexpected challenges was almost too much to bear. Well, actually they were too much to bear. I was basically on my face before Him, because I just didn’t know what to do. I was almost convinced that He was closing the door on something that I thought He had lead me to. And I wasn’t really okay with Him closing the door (but I would have had to be if He was). I begged Him for answers.
Begged. Maybe, He wasn’t answering or maybe I wasn’t listening, but I heard nothing. Silence.
Perceived silence is hard. Even harder when big life decisions hang in the balance. And there is only one thing that kept me from turning away from the challenges. I was never 100% sure if He wanted me to turn away.
“No one that puts his hand to the plow and then turns back is fit for the Kingdom of God”
That is a pretty harsh warning. Truth written in the red letters, but a hard pill to swallow. But what would happen if a plowman looked back? His plow line wouldn’t be straight, and he wouldn’t have a full harvest. That is what challenges can do to what God has before us if we let our challenges distract us from the path that He has before us.
What challenges have made you turn your head away from what God has before you? A love interest? A better job offer? Sickness? Fear? Insecurities? Pain? Insert other distraction here _____
His word in Proverbs 3: 5-6 says to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” It is not focusing on the challenges that will get us through the things that come our way but keeping our eyes on Him.
Keep your eyes on Him.
He is the only One who will make your path straight, keep you walking on water, turn water into wine, move the mountains in your way, and part the sea that is before you so you can walk right through it. Jesus.
Don’t give up friends. No, life is not a Hallmark movie. But His ways are higher than everything we could ever imagine, and following Him is worth it because He is good. Keep going, put one foot in front of the other, keep your eyes on Him, and He will guide you as you follow.
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