|Photo Credit: loswl at morgueFile.com|
You know the saying – “God’s perfect timing is not always our timing.” Well…
Last Friday, my husband and I made arrangements for the kiddos to spend the night with grandparents. We were goin’ out! That’s right. Once husbands and wives become dads and moms, it just seems harder and harder to plan that date night. But, we did, and were so looking forward to going out to eat and finding some great music to dance to.
That Friday morning, I went to the gym (well, that’s the partial truth, because by saying I went to “the” gym, you automatically assume that I was working out, right?). Wrong. I went to “a” gym…a local gymnastics venue that has Toddler Time where my youngest daughter could expend some energy. While we were there, I merely helped her on and off the rock wall, in and out of the foam pit, and up and down off of the zip line (tell me that counts as a work-out?! ha ha).
Anyway, I wish I could tell you that I was doing a Crossfit 57” Box Jump when the next part of my story took place, but I wasn’t. I was backing up after helping my daughter off of the rock wall. Then it happened. My ankle got lodged in between several layers of mats on an uneven surface and I, well, I…I, um, twisted my ankle and clumsily plopped down on the floor like a seal on land. Embarrassing.
Not pretty. Oh…my ankle…my throbbing ankle. For a moment there, I wasn’t even sure that I could hobble to the car. Luckily, this all happened as we were leaving and my audience was limited. One of the coaches did see and asked if I was okay. I hopped up (as gracefully as possible) and said, “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah – for sure, I’m fine, no problem.”
Once I got in the car, however, I let out my aaahhhhhh with a painful groan. I was groaning because it hurt AND because I reminded myself of what my husband and I were NOT going to be doing that evening…..DANCING! Grrrrrr!!
Poor timing. Such poor timing. As my ankle continued to ache throughout the day, I went from “pumped up in the morning” to “pooped out in the evening.” I didn’t feel like doing anything. I was officially a GRUMP. My poor husband. What kind of company is that? Attitudes are contagious and mine was certainly NOT worth catching!
Fortunately, my husband has a great way of helping me find a silver lining. He was describing how much more difficult life would temporarily be if I had actually broken my ankle – crutches, no driving for awhile, etc. He was right. At that moment, I also looked out our kitchen window and noticed a most spectacular cotton candy sunset. The blues, purples, and pinks were breath-taking. Maybe this wasn’t so horrible after all.
My “inconvenience” was just a sliver of a splinter compared to the crosses that many people bear. I had to tell myself to get over it. I grabbed another dose of Tylenol and we changed our plans. We had take-out for dinner and watched a movie at home.
It was perfect, really. What my husband and I were really craving when we planned date night was some uninterrupted conversation, complete sentences and thoughts, and carefree timelessness. We got it! It was wonderful. Oddly enough, it was better than our original plan. Hmmmm – was God’s timing prime timing? I’m thinking so.
How many times in our life do things seem to happen at the wrong time? How often do we feel that God is asking us to do something for Him during our own personal crisis? “You can’t mean me, Lord – I have my own personal issues I’m dealing with. Seriously - I can’t help you now – it’s not a good time for me.” Beth Moore brought up a great point when she said that, “It will often be crisis that God uses to pivot our direction.”
I can recall several times in my life when I had a “revelation” of sorts and it was almost always during a time of personal crisis. Think back for a second in your own life and you might find that this rings true for you as well?
Beth Moore also shared a humorous story. She said that a family drove to the fast food drive-thru to grab a quick dinner. The husband hurriedly began his order and the worker asked, “Can you repeat that, sir, I just can hardly hear you?” The husband repeated his order a little bit louder and the worker responded, “I am so sorry, your voice is just so faint; I can’t make out what you’re saying.” Then, as the husband began in a much louder tone for the third time, the wife tried to contain her pathetically gigantic laugh as she realized her husband was placing his order in the trash can.
Don’t we feel like that too? Don’t we feel like maybe sometimes we’re placing our order in the wrong place? Maybe we’re calling out our desperate prayer in the wrong direction? Maybe God can’t hear us down here? Right?! Maybe we think our prayer isn’t loud enough? But, as Ms. Moore points out, maybe God is using our crisis to give us a place to pivot our heels and change direction? I think I’ll grab onto that reasoning! How about you?
Aren’t we overwhelmed at times? Either with our own issues or trying to grasp why things are happening to our friends and family around us? I know I am. But, my Aunt Edie sent me this prayer that really gives me a different slant on the “crosses” that we bear and share. It was written by St. Francis de Sales.
“The everlasting God has, in His wisdom, foreseen from eternity,
the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart.
This cross He now sends you,
He has considered with His all-knowing eyes,
understood with His Divine mind,
tested with His wise justice,
warmed with loving arms,
and weighed with His own hands,
to see that it be not one inch too large
and not one ounce too heavy for you.
He has blessed it with His holy Name,
anointed it with His consolation,
taken one last glance at you and your courage,
and then sent it to you from heaven,
a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.”
I can’t say that I’ve ever considered “crosses” a gift. I mean…really. Have you? But, this prayer sure does make me think. It can definitely be a comfort to read as we bear a cross or share the crosses of others. To think that a cross has been carefully chosen so that we won’t crumble under its weight touches my heart in a way that I can’t explain.
As we enter this Lenten Season, we can certainly sacrifice, “give up,” and join our crosses with THE cross, but maybe we can also do more. Give more, pray more, love more, and forgive more.