Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Yellow Brick Road

I'm reading one of those books that is so chock-full of wisdom I'm tempted to take out a highlighter and mark passage after passage. Since I don't usually like marking in books other than my Bible, however, I'll simply share one particular nugget of wisdom here:

Hidden behind most of our regrets is the myth of the guaranteed right choice--as though if we'd only done it right, the path would have been smooth. There is a yellow brick road, we think, and our job from birth is to find it.

God surely holds the keys to this certain path that we desperately need to find. And when we get there, it should feel like tiptoeing through the tulips--some kind of emotional proof we are on target. The Bible never paints our lives this way, though. If you read the fine print, you notice that guarantees and certainty apply only to the life to come. The here and now is seen through a glass darkly.

The search for guarantees can leave you cautious and tentative about nearly everything--always fearful that your next choice will prove (yet again) to be some kind of mistake you regret. It mutates into the bad habit of worry, a crazy virus if there ever was one, because worry appears to ward off the next set of bad things happening. And so we keep doing it. But really, it just makes you go through life like Steve Martin's character in Father of the Bride, gripping the roller coaster with white knuckles while everyone else enjoys the ride.

I find my own perspective changes when I can let the present be something God is shaping for a future I cannot see--and that something is good because God is good. That may sound simple, but it's truer than thinking I can find the yellow brick road if I'm smart enough. Even in darker moments when I wonder if I have indeed missed God through my own hardheadedness (a genuine possibility), I am comforted by remembering that I belong to Christ--and I cannot, then, be truly lost again. It helps me to stop looking so hard for the certain path and lean the weight of my life on the God who owns them all.

-Paula Rinehart, Better than My Dreams, pps. 94-96

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