|The degree that hangs in Tim's new "Assistant Principal" office.|
Sometimes it would be so great to be able to see into the future. To be able to glance into our crystal ball to discern what is coming our way so we could plan accordingly. Alas, we don't have that ability. But our God is, and was, and will be. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. And while tomorrow remains a mystery to us, the Almighty has already been there and done that. Nothing is going to happen to us that will surprise Him. And whatever comes our way tomorrow, God is already putting help in place today to help us face it. He has a plan, and He is working it. I love that about Him.
Beth Moore speaks brilliantly about this concept when she delves into the book of Jeremiah. She mentions that God has thought it through, every detail of our lives, God has thought about it and is working in it to bring us to a place of hope. How familiar are the words to Jeremiah 29:11:
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. (NRSV)But I love the way the King James Version translates this passage, because it illuminates the very thing Beth Moore is getting at, the thing that the original language is saying:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (KJV)God has already accounted for all the mishaps, mistakes, and mis-steps. He has already figured out how to guide us to a good and peaceful destination. No matter how we start out, God has worked out a way to bring our hearts Home.
Yet while God has already thought it through, how often do we have the courage to see it through? You know what "it" is. It's that thing that has broken our heart, broken our dreams, broken our spirit. That thing that laughs at us while we rummage around in what is left of our lives wondering what to do next.
I've had some time now to process Tim getting a new job. He had been unsatisfied, feeling that he was meant for more challenge, for more purpose and meaning than he was experiencing where he was. After a principalship certification, two years of waiting and countless interviews, he finally was offered a position as an assistant principal at an elementary school. We have settled into this new life, this answered prayer.
Tim saw it through. He never gave up, he never gave in. It hurt like hell, wondering if God had forgotten him, struggling with the awful paradox of having a burning passion inside with no opportunity to let it ignite. Faith told us the fire inside was a God thing. But it was blind faith because each interview that didn't land a job seemed to be another message saying this was the wrong road. Only our insides told us it was right. We hung on to that tender thread. Then one day God answered our prayers.
God knew all along.
God had already been preparing a place for Tim. A perfect place where his gifts and heart and passion would be met by challenge needing his strength. A place where others would recognize the good stuff in him and send forth gratitude at his presence. Tim no longer has to wonder what difference he makes. He just has to look at the six hundred elementary school students in his care.
Tim saw it through.
Oh he inspires me. His story encourages me. When I think of the open-ended-ness of my own story I love thinking of his. Because it's then that I am able to translate this bit of Good News to my own life. God has already thought through my own scenario. And I want to also show the same courage my sweet husband has shown as I live into the Divine Conclusion God has already prepared. God has expectations for my future I haven't even imagined.
Goodness me, that rattles my cage! So much talk of expectations: mine, yours, the world's, the church's. But whoever considers God's? God has expectations for my future! That thought washes over me like sweet Grace. Oh sweet Jesus! Whatever do You expect to come from Your tender work in my life? In my heart? In my head?
It is worth it hold out.
To give "it" time.
To allow this story some breathing room.
Courage is a small price to pay for the expected ending God has in Mind.