I don’t always cry at weddings. In fact, if the tears don’t come when the groom is watching his bride come down the aisle, it’s safe to assume my eyes will be dry the whole day through.
This last wedding, though, hit me at the most unexpected of times.
As I slipped into the reception hall, I saw a friend I had not seen in many years. Sue is a saint of the grandmotherly variety. Her face lit up upon seeing me and she quickly offered me the seat next to her. I, of course, could not refuse.
When she started inquiring about my life, I told her nothing I would not tell another acquaintance. The conversation merely brushed across the surface of my life and spoke nothing of the struggle within my soul. Perhaps that is why I was so surprised when, after I had returned from a much-needed moment of baby snuggling time, Sue picked the conversation back up in the most curious of places.
“I know you already know this,” she said, “but I feel impressed to tell you that God has your life worked out.”
That’s when the tears came, burning beneath the surface of my eyes. I blinked them back (so technically I still did not cry at that wedding), but they slipped into my heart alongside the conviction Sue’s words brought.
God may have my life worked out, but I’m not sure that I knew that. Or, at the very least, I’m not sure that I believed that. Because a quick look back on the last three years certainly suggested otherwise.
I have felt lost. I have felt abandoned. I have felt the furthest thing from worked out.
And yet… I felt the sting of truth in those words.
“God has your life worked out.”
I realize that I have been working in my own strength to pick up the pieces and sort this puzzle out. I’ve grown tired of waiting and elected to take matters into my own hands. And oh what a mess I have managed to make.
But here is the truth I have long forgotten how to claim: God has my life worked out.
He has not given up somewhere in the middle (as I often have). He is not sitting up in heaven debating hitting the backspace key on the last few chapters of my life (as I often wish that I could). He knows how this ends. He has it worked out. I am not floundering all alone in the dark.
Tomorrow I leave for Africa. The story of my getting there is quite the soap opera. It was not my first attempt to visit this continent. Every single mishap along the way has seemingly been in direct opposition of my going. I had my doubts right up until the visa actually arrived on my doorstep (and that hasn’t even been the end of my struggles). To be honest, I have my doubts about traveling tomorrow because when I fly everything seems to go wrong.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept that God has my life worked out because I’m afraid it doesn’t look like the life I would choose for myself. Because sometimes He closes doors on opportunities I thought were perfect. Because sometimes He strands me in Ohio when I wanted the world.
But when it’s time, He throws those doors wide open so that I can walk through. And He tells me He had it worked out a year and a half ago when my plans fell through. Because this—chaotic and unnerving as it has been—is better than the trip I tried to line up for myself.
I’ve had my doubts… So many doubts…
But all along God had my life worked out.
Farewell for a couple of weeks, my friends. I’ll see you in April!