I just turned 30 this year, and it was a difficult milestone, as I’m not yet the self-made millionaire I was supposed to be by this time.
I’m a tricky guy; I eat cookie dough and get giddy over a tacky Christmas light displays with all those cheap plastic light-up Santas and snowmen. But deep-down I’ve been a Scrooge. (I turned off the Christmas music a couple of days ago because it was just too much.)
But 2013 has been a difficult year.
I had high expectations to be met by this time.
We were supposed to have a kid by now, be financially
stable – no, comfortable, and have my book be a New York Times bestseller.
But with just thirteen days left of the year, it’s not likely my plans will come through, and my resolutions must be delayed another year.
But, hard as it is for me to admit, God’s plans are right on target.
And, honestly, I hate that.
It’s true that His ways are not our ways. And sometimes I just want to scream, “Why don’t You just make Your ways MY ways?!”
Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe you had big plans for 2013, too. Maybe you were expecting a promotion by now, or hoping to see a friend or family member come to salvation by this point, or… I don’t know, hoping to finish that book, or go on that vacation.
But the December 31st deadline is crushing in on us.
Something I have to realize and come to grips with is that everything’s on schedule according to God’s watch.
It’s easy to write that, and say it. But darn near impossible to believe.
Or if I do believe it deep down, it makes me angry.
Conform your ways to mine, God. You know?
One of the greatest lines of all time is from the movie Fiddler on the Roof. It’s the last verse in Tevye’s song, “If I Were a Wealthy Man”:
Lord who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
And here it is:
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
If I were a wealthy man.
It’s meant to be humorous, but it chokes me up every time.
I’m not trying to sound wise or profound here, but I think the answer to that question, as hard as it is to admit, is yes. Yes, if God were to “smite me with money” (or happiness, or wishes-come-true), it would spoil His eternal plan for my life.
I wouldn’t have to work at my day job, and, who knows, make friends with the people I work with; listen to them, laugh with them, witness to them, pray for them. (Not that I’m great at the latter two, but the opportunity is there, nonetheless.)
When self-made deadlines approach and when our dreams fall through, these are truths that are hard to face, but face them we must.
If I’ve learned anything from the Christian life, it’s that hardly anything in it makes sense. And nothing is fair.
But you know what helps? To know that others have been in your place. And they’ve made it through, alive, well, joyful, and healthy.
I guess it’s true that there’s nothing new under the sun.
But you know what? I may not have everything I want, but if I did, what would there be left to fight for?
I want happiness for my wife. I can fight for that.
I want financial comfort for my family. Bring it on.
On my good days, I want my coworkers to know God. Let’s do this.
This is all easy to say and creatively write this in a blog post, but it’s another to believe it.
But, traditionally speaking, Christmas is the time for impossible belief, isn’t it? The miracle at the year’s midnight? The mustard seed planted in the eleventh hour?
And maybe – just maybe – from that seed can sprout a little hope, a little faith. Just enough to start things off for next year. A better year.
A hopeful year.
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