If I were to create a novel or a movie about my life, I would never contemplate a chapter or scene that seemed to go on forever with what appears to be no purpose or relevance to the journey. I don’t mind the unexpected twists and turns but what could only be described as meaningless pain and a whole lot of nothing doesn’t fit any Hollywood blockbuster or literary masterpiece I know of. I guess my life, other than the odd moment here and there, couldn’t be turned into a great novel or a movie. Nothing fits neatly into the template of good entertainment. Nothing lends itself to an outcome that will, as far as I can tell, justify the nothingness of waiting and the pain of life itself like we see on the screen or in a book. If my life was a TV show, movie or novel, I would, at some point fully understanding why things have gone the way they have, why answers seemed hard to come by, why suddenly and seemingly without reason, life changed for the better or worse, but I have come to accept that there will be many things this side of eternity that will remain unexplained.
What if I did know?
What if I could fully understand why the last few years have been full of pain, unexpected turns and unplanned detours? What if I could see more than a zigzagging path full of circles and dead ends? What if I could see where God was leading me throughout the previous chapter of my life? I can only guess, I can only try to make order out of the chaos that has been the last few years. I wish I could tell you more, maybe a formula or map that can be applied to your darkest chapters so that you could see your way from one chapter to the next, a better chapter in your life. There is nothing that I can find, no way to figure it all out, no directions for the straightest, quickest, least painful route out of the chapter you are in. This is all I have to offer. Every chapter is important even if the characters in the story don’t understand and maybe never understand, why these things had to take place.
But I want to make sense of it.
Don’t we all! It isn’t that we shouldn’t try, it’s that we shouldn’t expect to succeed, not fully at least. In our deep desire to get out of difficult chapters of life we often try to understand our way out, to make sense of it all. If we can just figure it out we can fix it and we can move on. Life under the direction of an all knowing God with a perfect plan is far more complicated. What keeps us where we are is the God ordained experiences that must be lived even though they are not always understood or addressed.
The toughest part is not knowing why we moved from one chapter to another.
Maybe I shouldn’t assume that you, like me, greet the blessings of a new more positive chapter in life with suspicion. I want to understand what was solved, what was addressed, what was learned that caused me to go from the last chapter to this one. The truth is, most of the time I cannot find anything that had stopped me from moving or anything that caused me to move. I don’t like this! If you are like me you don’t like it either! That being said, I am not sure that we, in our current unperfected state, are capable of liking this. We want to know so we can move quicker from one chapter to another especially when we don’t like the chapter we are in.
What if we did know how to move to a new chapter?
If I was able to do this, I would change the chapter, I would make things better, and I would move things forward at a speed that I felt best served me. I would not experience anything that I believed wouldn’t make me a better person right away and I would not waste my time on things that to me seemed frivolous. In other words I would take on the role of God without the all-knowing and all-seeing power. I would make decisions based on what I know which at best compiles enough data to make an educated guess. I would avoid, breeze past, or hang out in experiences based on the way I see my life during the situation and in the future.
The problem is, I am incapable of recognizing everything during the situation let alone predicting the future. To stay longer or move on is best left to the One who can see all and knows all. To rest or to be busy is best determined by the One who understands what I need to address here and now and to prepare for what is coming.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)