Life will surprise you but it doesn’t have to upset you

Life doesn’t always go the way you expect it will. You can plan all the details carefully and still not be ready for the curve balls it throws you. You can be capable and clever and still end up on your backside when life is done with you. And that’s why it’s important to understand that you can never plan life.

You can get ready for what you think will happen, but that’s it. You can’t control when it happens or how it happens. Sometimes things just happen. Both good things and bad things can catch us off guard. When the surprise is good, sometimes it’s hard to accept because–come on, good things don’t just happen, right? When the surprise is bad, we tend to point fingers at God and demand an explanation for why He would hurt us like this. Neither perspective is helpful.

So if you can’t avoid surprises, good or bad ones, how do you get through life without falling down all over yourself? Well, honestly, sometimes you are just going to trip and fall on your face. It’s good for you, though. Getting up again builds character. But facing the uncertainties of life is a lot easier when you see them the way God sees them–not as speed bumps sent to frustrate and annoy you but as opportunities to see a miracle up close and personal.

me-n-katie

Me and my best friend (I haven’t mastered the Art of Selfie yet ….)

Today’s verses are Luke 7:1-10.

When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people, he returned to Capernaum. At that time the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death. When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish elders to ask him to come and heal his slave. So they earnestly begged Jesus to help the man. “If anyone deserves your help, he does,” they said, “for he loves the Jewish people and even built a synagogue for us.”

So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.

Can you imagine the faith this Roman had? He didn’t have to see Jesus do a miracle to believe that He could do it. We should be amazed. Because Jesus marveled at this guy.

I’m putting my best friend on a plane today. Again. I think this marks the fourth or fifth time I will watch her walk back through security in an airport and step out of my everyday life.

I never expected to have a best friend other than my brother, but when you encounter someone who is quite literally the other half of your brain, friendship sort of just happens. Almost overnight in our case. We’d known each other for years, but the best friend bit came along in the last six or so. And just as we had gotten to the place where we could finish each other’s sentences (or sandwiches, if you happen to be a Frozen fan), God told her to become a missionary.

That’s life. What’s more, that’s life following God. You never know what’s going to happen. You never know what He’s going to do. And honestly it’s better if you don’t know it ahead of time, but man–it can be frustrating. Because for once–just once–I’d like things to be easy and straight forward and simple. But they don’t work like that. This abundant life thing God has given us tends to complicate our worlds.

At least, that’s what it seems like if you’re looking at it from the world’s perspective. When you see it from God’s perspective, it’s really quite simple. God knows what He’s doing, so just trust Him and do what He says.

It’s all in how you see your circumstances. Your attitude about God and what He’s doing in your life depend on how much you trust Him. Do you believe He knows what He’s doing, that He never makes mistakes, and that He always keeps His promises? If you do, then you probably don’t have a problem leaving the country to become a missionary half a world away.

But what if you’re the one left behind? What if you’re the one who always ends up the anchor, the one who stays put, the one who holds down the fort? What if you don’t get to be a missionary and have to stay where you are instead? What if you’re the friend left alone in the airport waving goodbye to someone you won’t get to hug again for six months–or maybe longer? How does trusting God work out in that situation?

Well, who says they’re different? One person has to trust God enough to leave. The other has to trust Him enough to stay. Believe that God has a plan either way. Everything comes down to trust. Do you trust Him enough to believe that He can bring beauty from ashes? Do you trust Him enough to believe that He is more than your current circumstances?

It’s okay if life catches you by surprise with the things you don’t expect, but you don’t have to stay surprised. God is right there with you, and He’s big enough to manage any complication. So tell Him about it, listen for an answer, read the Scripture, and then do what He says.

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