A Slight of Hand

Tonight my boys were playing a game of Monopoly Deal before bed, with Mr. Abear playing pretty competitively. If you haven't played, the first player to get three full sets of properties wins. Little Abear got so riled up close to the end of the game, he ran out of his room yelling it wasn't fair. His daddy coaxed him back and let him know there was always a chance for things to turn around. He collected a handful of cards, and sure enough he held the two cards he needed to win. The lesson his daddy tried to teach him was this: good things may not always happen the way we plan them to, but there's always hope. And sure enough, my little guy won fair and square by just coming back and picking up those cards.

Oh how close I've been to buckling under the weight of it all. Lies coming at me from every side that all is hopeless. But I have a Father who tells me, "Come back, I have a plan". Always a plan for hope, just stop running away. I'm so close to goodness, yet I'm so blind I run away yelling how unfair it all is. If I look at my cards now, the ones I've been dealt, and I think simple mindedly, it is all hopeless. But if I look to the One Who knows the deck - better yet created it, there is more than a chance. What struggle holds you down? Fear? Worry? Anxiety? Anger? Depression? Don't run and don't give up. Life is so unpredictable. I have to remind myself that the most beautiful miracles will happen when they will give God the most glory. It has to be that way, because if it looks too much like chance, we'll allow ourselves to be deceived, if we aren't already. What was the last big miracle in your life? Just barely getting out of a car accident? a broken marriage turned beautiful? an illness healed? Don't fool yourself. You didn't hit the brakes in time because you have great reflexes. You didn't do anything just good enough to get your spouse back. And you certainly didn't eat enough leafy greens to cure yourself of high cholesterol. Sure, it may have all helped, but you really think you have that much control over your own life? If you do, you might as well think you created yourself. 
Absurd, right? 

So what about the flip side... you wrecked your car, your marriage is still failing, and you had a heart attack. Does that make it God's fault? Do my problems make it God's fault, because the only way I'll give Him glory is if everything goes perfectly? If those things will make me run out of the room yelling "life's not fair", then I guess I'm just assuming how the rest of the deck will turn out, aren't I? I can think of plenty of times I was distraught thinking I was in the middle of the worst possible scenario, only to realize years later 'that' scenario was the miracle. It was pushing me out of something ugly into something beautiful, and I didn't even know it. Does that mean you shouldn't mourn your circumstances? Not one bit. Grief is so vital, and yet in this culture, especially this Christian culture, we can feel so worthless in simply allowing ourselves to feel. The only difference is, no matter how we emotionally react we must always remind ourselves feelings do not represent truth. Death/sickness/divorce/andthelike were never supposed to be a part of our world, so we must grieve them as the unnatural tragedies that they are. Although they weren't intended for our world, it does not mean they were outside of His plan. This beautiful plan of redemptive grace, so much lovelier than even the best plan I could've made for myself.