We’ve all been there. We’ve been in the pit of despair; hurting, hopeless, and alone. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that someone’s heart breaks for you? Wouldn’t it be nice if your pain moved someone else, and that that someone could actually help you? Perhaps one of the most incredible things about Jesus, was how his heart broke for real people in the throws of real life. What’s most incredible though, is that he could and actually did something about it.
Jesus is one of the most talked about people ever. Debates rage about the things he said and did; have you ever wondered why? What’s so amazing about him that century after century he remains in the headlines? Some say it’s because he’s controversial. Could it be though, that he’s just that awe inspiring? Because wherever he went, he changed things. The scene was never the same when Jesus entered it. Somehow he always made the mundane, majestic. And he still does today.
So much of religion and spirituality seems to be about rules; nothing more than a long list of dos and don’ts that–quite frankly–make it all feel like mere behavior modification. Does God really care about the stuff I do? Aren’t there bigger things for him to worry about than the decisions I make? Isn’t it all grace and mercy? Yes, it is but there’s a bigger story behind the rules. There’s a deeper reason God cares about what we do. And it’s not so much about what he wants from us as it is what he wants for us.
Many people (maybe even you) see God as a cosmic machine builder. He put this whole universe together, wound it up and let it fly. And now that it’s doing its thing, He sits back rather uninterested and uninvolved. Why would he care? Especially about me? With all the stars and planets and problems on Earth, why would God waste his time worrying about little ol’ me? Certainly we’re just blips on his cosmic radar...right? Wrong.
When life doesn’t go according to plan, and we’re able to fight off cynicism and practice gratitude in the middle of strife, we can have hope for tomorrow. We don’t need to be afraid of what’s around the corner. We can trust that God is at work and dream for tomorrow beyond whatever reality we’re in today. The plan may have gone out the window, but tomorrow might have an even better one. Just wait.
When life doesn’t go according to plan, we may not think so, but we have a choice to make. And that choice is less about what we’re going to do as it is about how we’re going to do it. We will be tempted to think God isn’t active in our lives, or possibly that God has it out for us. In so doing we become a victim that feels powerless, but ultimately that’s a place we decide to be. In even the moments that aren’t full of sunshine and rainbows, we can decide to hold on to gratitude instead.
When life doesn’t go according to plan, everyone else will have an idea as to why. Unfortunately, in our fragile state, we’ll often listen to them. We assume they’re right. But just because they sound right doesn’t mean they are right. In order to beat disillusionment, we have to be careful who we allow to say what. We have to take care in choosing what we hold on to as we make our way through the storm.
When life doesn’t go according to plan, it’s easy to fall into cynicism. We become ever more inclined to barricade ourselves in emotionally and assume the worst of most people and events in life. At some point, someone or thing let us down and we were left feeling vulnerable. So we come up with answers as to why things are the way they are; meaning for the madness. We blame. We point. We assume. Often however, we fail to see that we might be missing out on an opportunity to learn and grow.
There’s a truth out there that no one wants to admit is there. It’s the reality that life, at some point, will not go according to plan. Often, life stinks. It’s about time we admit that; whether we call ourselves a follower of Jesus or not, because God never promised that everything would always be easy and comfortable. He never promised that everything would go according to plan. So, what do we do when it doesn’t?