When the pastorate got tough I day dreamed a lot about going back to seminary and doing graduate work. I would guiltily read through seminary catalogues like they were porn.
And for the longest time I looked with gripping envy at a seminary class-mate. His marriage was intact. He had a lovely wife. His two kids were growing up well. He was the senior pastor of a major church in Hong Kong. He was a key leader in his denomination and the evangelical world. I thought that was to be the script of my life as well. But my life is no where near that normal.
So much of our life can be frittered away in the fruitless pursuit of the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘if onlys’. Which is why I was delighted that the movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, chose to highlight a key lesson from the book.
When Frodo first discovers the true nature of the ring and the threat of Sauron, he tells Gandalf the wizard that he wished these evil events had not happened in his lifetime.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf ” and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Such a profound liberating truth.
God is the Author of life. He deals out the cards. There is so much of life we can’t control. Which is not to say we shouldn’t live responsibly. Still, even with our doing our best, there is so much that is completely out of our hands.
We may feel that life has dealt us a poor hand. Nothing much we can do about that. But we can choose how we will live the life we have been given. Our lives may be only equivalent to ‘five loaves and two fishes’. But look what happens when one turns them over to the Lord.(Mark 6: 30-44)
So, if you are among those who feel that life has given you the short end of the stick, here are the choices:
1. Live a life of anger and self-pity. 2. Lose your life in a dream world of ‘what ifs’. 3. Turn your life over to God and live your life to the full for Him.
I am slowly beginning to experience the beauty of 3. Join me?