Thursday, January 2, 2014

Not The Way We Expect It

It's the beginning of a 'new year'. On the Gregorian calendar anyway.  A time of reflection, reminiscing, dreaming, preparing, and planning. Gazing back and looking ahead. Now, for the loaded question:  Are you where you thought you'd be at this point in your life?!

When I was much younger, I was never really much of a dreamer. I was very much the obedient child doing as I was told and somewhat afraid to think 'outside the box.'  There were, however, certain ideas I had about what my future would look like.... (This is the part where we all chuckle!)

Here I am, in 2014, rapidly speeding toward my 52nd birthday and I can honestly say life isn't  AT ALL what I'd imagined it would be when I reached this stage.  In my young adulthood, I envisioned having a successful career, making a nice salary, marrying a career man who also had a comfortable income, owning a nice home, great car(s), having children, traveling once a year minimum, entertaining in my home on a regular basis sometimes using fine china and crystal surrounded by good friends and family and so on. You get the picture.

I can truly say that I have done all of those things but not in a way that I had imagined previously. None of them. The timing was different, the circumstances were different, the outcome was different. Really. And, it's not that I didn't plan as I am a planner. It's that I didn't consult with the Master Planner so I was somewhat unprepared for the outcome and the reason behind it.

Reminds me of two young fellows traveling the road to Emmaus from Jerusalem.  Deep in discussion and thought. Pondering the events that had taken place the past few days. Wondering why things didn't turn out as they thought they should. It didn't make sense:

Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people suffered rebuke, torture and death yet He was supposed to be the One to redeem Israel!
Luke 24:19-24 (summary)

Not what they expected or planned for.  Nor did they plan to meet Him on the road, have Him reveal all things to them, dine with them, and vanish right before their eyes. Looking at life through the human lense rather than the divine. Don't we all....

And their eyes were opened and they knew Him. And He vanished out of their sight.
 And they said to one another, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us on the way and while He opened to us the Scriptures?”
And they rose up that same hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them,
saying, “The Lord is risen indeed and hath appeared to Simon!”
And they told what things were done on the way, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. 
Luke 24:31-35

Their eyes were opened! As they struggled to understand, He walked with them all the while. Never left them. Along the road. Into their home. Through His gracious act of teaching and revealing His divine purpose, in His humility in accepting their invitation and of dining and breaking bread with them, Jesus showed them the great mysteries of what happened and why. Things suddenly become clear, made sense. What these two men sought after, hoped for and prayed for was standing right before them. Just not in the way they had imagined.

And, so it is with us.  The pain. The suffering. The surrendering. The questions. With God, most things don't happen to us the way we thought they would. There is a purpose in everything.

I look at back at my journey over the past 51 years and see God's hand in so much of it!  No, it's not the way I had envisioned it; however, His ways are not my ways. My way would be self indulgent, temporal and of the flesh; His way is born of a perfect love and powered by an eternal purpose for me. 

A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Honestly, I wasn't happy before, in my 'other life', when I was making the plans. I now know that I am truly rich when I let Him lay the path down before me. Yes, I have cars, a home, children, a husband, a career, family, and much more.  But not in the way I imagined it.  I don't fully understand all of it; as the years go by, my eyes continue to be opened to the mysterious things of the past.  He has revealed so much to me, opened my eyes to see the beauty of His ways and His purposes under heaven.

I don't look back with regrets; I look back with thanksgiving. For the spiritual gifts rather than material, the eternal rather than those things that fade away with time. For the deliverance from bondage. For the fulfillment in His love and in a treasure that waits for me in His Kingdom to come.... Not at all what I'd expected but, oh, so much better!

Does your heart burn when you spend time with Him?  Does your heart burn when He reveals Himself to you through His Word?   
  • It doesn't happen until you have a heart seeking to understand and know Truth. 
  • It doesn't happen until you have a mind knowing there is more than meets the eye.
  • It doesn't happen until you have a spirit yielded to His will and life with Him.
  • It doesn't happen until you break bread with Him, invite Him to dine with you, until He is your God and no other.

Even when we don't understand, even when things don't make sense, He walks with us never leaving us alone.  He waits for us to ask Him to help us understand, to ask for wisdom and discernment. He answers our questions; He wants to teach us, to show us. He waits for us to ask Him, to invite Him, to dine with us. Won't you break bread with Him so He will make Himself known to you and your eyes will be opened......?

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
 Luke 4:18-19

"I am that Bread of Life." John 6:48

 "In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.
 And the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. "
John 1:4-5