Best of Daily Reflections: Do You Ever Wish God Would Reveal a Few More Spoilers?
Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.
In yesterday's post, I talked about my friend John, who, in his preaching, often reveals spoilers from popular movies or books. If you're in his church and you don't see a hit movie on opening weekend, there's a good chance John will spoil the ending in his sermon.
In light of our passage from Ephesians 3, God uncovers his mystery at just the right time. He is not into spoilers, if you will. Mostly, I'm fine with this, because I love a good mystery story and am bugged when people, like my friend John, spoil the ending for me. But, every now and then, I wish God would reveal a few more spoilers. Sometimes I'd like to know in advance how the story ends.
For example, six years ago, my wife and I were wrestling with the toughest decision of our life ... whether to move our family to Texas so I could join the staff of Laity Lodge. I felt powerfully drawn to this amazing ministry, but worried greatly about what would happen with my children, who were twelve and fourteen. Moving teenagers is a tricky business, most of all because it means taking them away from their friends. My own kids not only had great friends, but also a wonderful church, excellent schools, and lots of family nearby. As Linda and I agonized about whether to move to Texas or not, I desperately wanted to know how things would turn out with my children. Would they survive the move? Would they make new friends? Would they fit into the culture of a small town in Texas? Would they find a good place for Christian fellowship? Would they get a good enough education to get into strong colleges? Most of all, would my children continue to live as disciples of Jesus Christ?
God did not give away any spoilers as Linda and I prayed for guidance. We received no visions guaranteeing the future for our children. But, as we waited on God, three things became crystal clear.
First, we saw how faithful God had been in the past. Our story was one of amazing grace, again and again. Yes, there were struggles and pains. But God had been more than faithful in our lives. Didn't this suggest that he would continue to be faithful in the future?
Second, God loves and cares for my children, even more than Linda and I do. They belong to him. They are his handiwork. Their lives are meant for his purposes and glory.
Third, Linda and I needed to trust God, even without the spoiler. We were called to have faith that the God who had so marvelously authored the story of our family to that point would continue to write a wonderful story, his story for us. We needed to trust the divine storyteller, even though he didn't spoil the end of the story. That's what faith is all about, trusting the God who has shown himself to be trustworthy, even without the spoilers.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you ever wish God would tell you more of his story—or your story—right now? As you look back upon your life, can you see why God avoided "spoilers" in his relationship with you? How is God making known to you his will for your life?
PRAYER: Lord, there are some times when I wish you'd tell me more. I wouldn't mind a spoiler or two every now and then. But, I suppose then I wouldn't have to trust you as much. So, I thank you for your wisdom in showing me all I need to see in order to live well today. Help me to trust you, to follow you, to live my life fully as a crucial character in your story. Amen.
P.S. from Mark: It occurs to me that it would be rather cruel to leave you hanging in the story of our move to Texas. You may be wondering how things turned out, especially how it has been for my children. Of course, their transition was not easy as they left behind all that was familiar, especially their wonderful friends and our family. But, in time, my children found a home in Boerne, Texas. They received a top education here, so that they were accepted into fine colleges. They made great friends. They found contexts in which to grow in their faith. They didn't hold a grudge against their parents for moving them. Today, both of my children would say that their move to Texas was a major factor in their growth as people. This summer, both of my children are serving the Lord at Laity Lodge Youth Camp. My wife and I are filled with gratitude to God for his faithfulness in the lives of our children. Now, if he'd only give us a couple of spoilers concerning their futures and the empty nest that lies ahead for Linda and me...
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.