No Lifeguard On Duty

nolgGenerally speaking, my wife and I are well versed at dealing with change. Both of us fly by the seat of our pants relatively well. Plans get altered, life happens, we roll with the punches. But lately, it feels like every single aspect of our lives are in the midst of some kind of transition.

Leah and I are moving to a new apartment. It’s cheaper and closer to where we both work. We’ve lived in our current place for less than a year. The house is descending into pre-move chaos and we’re caught between choosing whether to clean it or just pack it.

The family Leah nannies for had a baby recently and they’re all trying to learn a new rhythm. I quit my desk job of five years for a position in a manufacturing company that is completely different from anything I’ve ever done before. The hours are unfamiliar. Leah and I have never co-existed on opposite schedules before, so neither of us know what that will look like once I’m off my training schedule.

The changes we’re looking at are good ones. That part is mostly certain. But it still feels like several portions of our lives are flapping in the breeze. If the wind blows any harder, there’s no telling where they’ll end up.

I’ve read blogs and heard sermons that begin similarly to this one. They talk about change and how nothing is certain in life. Then they talk about God and how constant he is. “Faithful” is a word that gets tossed around a lot. And that’s cool. I don’t begrudge anyone their faithful, ever-present, life-guardesque deity. The way they talk about it, God is sitting on His elevated chair in a pair of ray-bans with a streak of zinc-oxide on his nose, just waiting to dive into their lives to rescue them if things get too real.

I used to have that same idea of God. In times like this, I wish I still did. It would be nice to feel a sense of constancy in the midst of this maelstrom. Over the past several years though, God has gone out of his way to prove to me that he’s not at my beck and call. Whether he was opening doors that led to nowhere, or closing windows I was trying to crawl out of, I never had the sense that there was any “plan” behind any of it. Sometimes God answers prayer. Sometimes he doesn’t. I don’t know why. I don’t know what factors go into his decisions.

If God is a lifeguard at my life-pool, I can’t tell if his reflective sunglasses are pointed at me or the blonde at the juice bar.

Don’t misunderstand me. I still love God. I think he still wants good things for us. But I’m not sure how willing he is to dive in the instant we realize we’ve swam into the deep end. I guess, what I’m saying is that in my experience, God is entirely unpredictable, and I’m not sure what to do with that.

Paul Paul Allen is the editor of Hunting for God. After growing up in an Assemblies of God church, he attended Johnson Bible College for two years before dropping out. In the time since, he has more or less figured out the whole “adulthood” thing, gotten married, and holds a steady job by day and writes movie scripts by night. He currently resides in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife Leah and two cats, Ego and Karma. HfG on FB

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