I heard a sermon recently, where the teacher was talking about Jacob and his stairway to heaven dream (you started humming the intro to the Led Zeppelin song, admit it), and how, before this dream, all Jacob had was his checkered past chasing him and his unknown future looming before him. He laid his head on a rock, went to sleep, and God gave him this dream, which in turn, ended up giving Jacob the gift of the present…the here and now, so much so that Jacob builds an altar and dubs the rock he used as a pillow something like “That was God, yo.” Ok, that’s an extreme paraphrase, and but you get what I’m saying.
I feel like I just went through a season where God basically did the same thing for me: gave me the gift of the present. For close to a year now, I’ve been grieving and letting go of a past filled with mistakes, and wondering about a future that seems more than a bit unclear, and this summer, I lived from one moment to the next, keeping in mind that the big picture is made up of sometimes miniscule brushstrokes.
There were several situations and instances over the past season where I felt stuck, but I knew that I had only come to the end of what I could do about something and had to wait.
Have you ever been there? Where you can’t do anything about something, so it’s like you’re forced to just relax and wait for God to do his thing?
Ok, well, that’s where I was for an entire season, and it was frustrating at times and liberating at other times. Currently, this is how I’m living my life now that school is back in session and everyone is everywhere again. From one moment to the next, I don’t always know how anything is going to work out. Throw in some unique circumstance like my (mom’s) car (that I’m borrowing) breaking down or money being tight and suddenly, I have to just stay put, in whatever moment I find myself.
I’m not “stuck in a moment” that I can’t get out of (now you’re singing that song), but from time to time, I find myself at a point where I do not have ideas; I do not have plans or solutions, and I just have to slow down, look around a little bit, wait, and maybe just relax finally.
That’s when I find that God is in this.
That’s when I find four feathers in succession, or when I find a tiny snail’s shell, or when I see the beauty of all my mixed paint smearing together during art class clean up. That’s when I realize, if only for just a split second, that I’m ok, that I’m taken care of, that I’m going to get through this moment and that my life isn’t over. Those are the moments, when I’m borrowing a friend’s car, and there are two tired, fussy, hangry kids in the backseat and a rambunctious little puppy in the front seat, and it’s 7:30 pm and I still have to hit up the grocery store before going home for the day, that I suddenly start to well up with so much joy at the unpredictability and grace in my life.
That’s God: unpredictable, yet gracious.
When all the unexpected things happen, the things that don’t have any obvious solution, there’s grace somewhere in those things. There’s grace in not knowing how to solve it. There’s grace in having to slow down and look around and wait because nothing else can be done. There’s grace in just being in the present and not skipping ahead and not looking back.
Because I find out, the more I live from one moment to the next, that God really does have a plan. And I usually don’t have any idea what it is until it’s happening; until the idea comes or the solution suddenly presents itself. It’s as if there are these little nooks and crannies built in the middle of an unexpected situation and grace is just stuffed right in there.