Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Long and Winding Road

"That was a pretty long contemplative period," I hear you say. I guess the more time I spent away from my routine, the more I realized how much I needed to get a new perspective on a number of things. Let me share with you one of the things that has crystalized in my heart over this "contemplative" season. Life does not guarantee, or even promise you constants. You are not guaranteed that things will turn out exactly as you've planned. You are not even guaranteed that your making all the "right" choices will assure the expected outcome. There is only one thing that is guaranteed (and I'm not talking about death and taxes), and that is the fact that God is always faithful.

As I've stated on a number of occasions, it may seem difficult to wrap your mind around the concept of God's faithfulness in the midst of heartache and difficulty, but that is simply a matter of perspective. A mountain may seem somewhat small and undaunting from a great distance, but your perspective changes once you begin the climb. Our perspective on our circumstances cannot be motivated solely by those circumstances, but by the promises of God in the Scriptures. As His purpose unfolds in our lives, our perspective changes as we begin to understand a little better why we went through certain circumstances. One way to guarantee a change in your perspective, is by developing a personal relationship with Jesus. A personal relationship with Jesus will put a new perspective on your values, it will redirect the daily investing of your gifts and your purpose, and the lessons learned along the way will become invaluable stepping stones to help and encourage others, instead of just being hard experiences. Why is this so important you ask? Too many people aim at nothing with their lives, and instead live randomly from one experience to another. Living like this assures you a schizophrenic lifestyle. Happy one moment, depressed the next, depending on your circumstances. Since our lives are made up of cumulative seconds, that become minutes, that become hours, that become weeks, and... you know the rest, each moment and decision that we make, has a profound effect on the totality of our lives.

To understand this, and successfully scale the mountains of life, you must have a proper perspective of your "mountain." My father-in-law is 'famous' for his profound cliche's. One of my favorite ones was when he would say, "The great big road of I-don't-care, leads to the wonderful majestic city of Oh-had-I-known." In other words, if we live our lives as if nothing else matters but our happiness, we are likely to miss God's purpose for our lives. The reason for this is the faulty premise which suggests that the most important thing to God regarding you is your happiness. In reality, the most important thing to God concerning you is your obedience and the molding of His character in you. Ask Joseph, he would probably tell you that his stint in prison wasn't necessarily the "happiest" season of his life, but he continued to be obedient because of God's promise. He ultimately became Prime Minister of a foreign nation. Ask Moses, and he is more likely to tell you that a life as Prince of Egypt would have certainly been more accommodating than life as a goat herder (he went from dining with Heads of State, to counting the heads of sheep). He ultimately delivered God's people from a 420 year "hiatus" in Egypt.

Prison prepared Joseph to rule with sensitivity, understanding, and compassion. Hibernating on the back side of the wilderness for forty years prepared Moses to lead millions of Jews through that same barren landscape for another forty years. Here's a profound truth about life: The road may often seem long and winding and at times inavigable. But whatever road you're on, and whatever the difficulties of navigating that road may be, make sure it isn't the "great big road of I-don't-care," so that you don't end up at the "wonderful, majestic city of Oh-had-I-known."