The same producers who made the movie “Faith like Potatoes” heard about the life-story of a friend I used to teach with in South Africa. The movie “Born to Win” was the result. It’s a biography of the amazing life of Leon Terblanche. One of the great lessons that can be taken out of this story is in the title of this blog. It’s also actually a line from the movie. When things don’t turn out the way we want them to, the last thing we feel is blessed. It’s during those times we need to lift our heads to the One who knows best. That’s when we need to fall to our knees and get to the place where we were created to be – in God’s arms.
We are so busy running towards our goals and living by our plans, that we don’t want God to intervene. His Word says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” That’s enough to make any of us run. We don’t want God interfering with our plans! Sometimes we even want to make a real change in the world. That’s good, right? It’s always the right thing to want to do the right thing, right? Well, if we are doing the right thing for the wrong reason, it might benefit some people, but it might not be God’s way. It might even benefit us outwardly, but not better us inwardly.
God is all about growth. His plan for us is growth. The questions we need to ask ourselves is not,
- “Why do some people have more than me?”
- “Why does that person have so many hits for such a ridiculous post?
- “Why do I need to be going through this?”
- “Why are my kids being rebellious?”
- “Why doesn’t my spouse understand me?”
My focus must not be on why things are going the way they are with other people, my focus should be on how I can do something about it that will make me grow and make me a better person and bring me closer to God. Maybe if I worked a little harder or studied a little harder, my financial position might change. But will that make me a better person and bring me closer to God. I don’t know the answer to the post thing, but I do know that it doesn’t really make you a better person or bring you closer to God – so why even worry about it. Maybe if my wife doesn’t understand me, I need to stop looking at her faults and start seeing what I can do to improve our relationship. Maybe if I am going through a tough time, I need to ask God what He is trying to say to me.
Now I know that I have many friends who think that God is a fairy tale and that the final sentence in the last paragraph was a ridiculous statement. But here’s something to think about. When we moved to Tasmania, 8 years ago, I met an amazing person who became a good friend. Kerry had been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease when he was in his 30’s. He gradually lost the ability to do anything for himself. He couldn’t open the car door for his wife, hug his children or mow the lawn. In fact, he was completely dependant on others for everything. As a husband and father, I would feel … let’s just say it wouldn’t be good. Kerry passed away last year after being in that condition for more than 15 years – which was a miracle in itself. Kerry used to share the Gospel on the internet and a special device that made it possible for him to type via visual recognition of the letters. He told people around the world about God’s goodness. Where you and I might have cursed God, he could see the good in his situation. Kerry once told me that if it wasn’t for his illness, he would never have been so close to God. His illness was his healing.
About a year ago we arrived in Mexico to do mission teaching. Casey, the founder of GEM, welcomed us and was very excited that he had 2 new teachers. Due to circumstances, we were not able to stay. Instead of Casey freaking out and not handling the news very well, because he now had students and classes for which he never had teachers, he saw it differently. Even though it was tough to sort out the practicalities of the situation, he said that this would get him to his knees and that’s where God wants him. He trusted God, he prayed with us and handled the entire situation with love and grace. Today we remain in contact. In fact, we are working together on a few projects.
So you see, sometimes things don’t happen the way we want them to, because Our ways are not God’s ways. He knows what’s best for us. He knows where our souls are the safest – In His presence. And when things are never tough, we won’t see the need for God. See your life as a 400m hurdles race. You will need stamina and perseverance to finish it. You will need to get over hurdles on the way. But instead of seeing each one as a hindrance, see it as an opportunity to jump off the ground and leave the way the world thinks. Use that time to draw closer to God and to realise that your soul is more important than your comfort.
Have an amazing day!