Think back to a pivotal circumstance, the kind of circumstance that changes the entire trajectory of your life. Did you know at that moment what a big deal that event was? Usually we don’t see things are they truly are in these moments. Our close proximity to our circumstance gives us heightened emotions and we aren’t able to see clearly. An all-enveloping-emotional-fog-bank rolls over us and it becomes difficult to create meaning out of our circumstance. Isn’t that what we’re always looking for… meaning? I mean, that’s why we say things like:
- “Why me?”
- “Why now?”
- “How could…?”
Even a man that finds a double-rainbow longs for it’s meaning. This is designed in us. We long for meaning in every circumstance. The problem is, if we find meaning in our circumstance, it’s often in the rear view mirror. It’s when we’re looking back that we see the meaning or potential meanings. And when we find meaning, it gives us a peace about what we went through. It enable us to say things like, “Oh, now I see what you [God] were up to.” or if you don’t believe in God, you might say something like, “It all makes sense now.”
Even the very first followers of Jesus had this issue. They were walking, talking, and eating with the Son of God and they still had this fog-in-the-moment issue. Take a look:
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed in the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
Jesus’ disciples did not understand the meaning of all this, until later. That’s right, there was something meaningful in something as seemingly insignificant as what he rode into town on. Throughout the Old Testament of the Bible, basically the first half, there’s tons of history and the whole time it’s pointing toward this future king, this future savior, this future public figure that would “Hosanna!” [save] the world. We call these messianic prophecies, which basically means the foretelling of a future Messiah, a savior. There was a sense in which things ought to be a certain way, but they are not and we need a savior from God to fix it. Israelites and Jews were always looking for Him. There are literally hundreds of these prophecies in the Old Testament, here’s a chart of just 44 of them and when/how they were fulfilled, aka accomplished.
When Jesus rode into town on the colt of a donkey, that meant something. It accomplished that prophecy, it was a check in a box that was part of the ridiculously long make-sure-we-have-the-right-messiah list. But Jesus’ followers weren’t really thinking about that list until later. They found meaning in the small things after they had hindsight.
Here’s the deal. When you can’t figure out, “Why” or when it seems as though your whole world in caving in you’re going to look for meaning. And if your circumstance is tragic, you may be tempted to walk away from faith in a God who acts with purpose, a loving God. But, days, weeks, months, years or even decades down the road… you may find meaning. That meaning will give you a peace about the circumstance.
But here’s the difficult part. Meaning isn’t always wrapped around you or me. Sometimes meaning is bigger than us and while we may be given the understanding to have peace about our circumstance, we won’t know the entire meaning of the events of our lifetime until we have complete hindsight.
Most likely, nothing you read here will pull you out of a funk if you’re in a difficult circumstance. But it’s okay, not to be okay. It’s okay to be mad. It’s okay to have emotions that run the entire spectrum of emotion. But I urge you to take your time in your pivotal circumstances, because where you go from here is going to change the rest of your life. When Jesus rode into town on a donkey’s colt, this was as good as it got for he and his followers. People were cheering. It was a parade, a celebration of the arrival of the Messiah. But Jesus’ followers didn’t totally understand what was about to happen. How could they?
His disciples were expecting a bit of a revolution, which explains why the political and religious people of the day were so scared of him. But instead…
- Jesus was betrayed by his own disciple
- Put on trial
- Found not-guilty
- The crowd demanded his death
- He was beaten to a bloody pulp
- He was paraded to a hill while carrying his own death instrument called a cross
- Nailed to the cross and hoisted upright
- He spoke forgiveness from his position on a cross
- He died.
- His followers were crazy confused
- He walked out of his tomb three days later
- Hung out with his followers again
- And basically floated up into the sky until they could no longer see him
- Sat down next to his Father in Heaven as King over all creation, not just over Israel
God usually doesn’t do what we expect, but bigger, more significant things. He generally doesn’t use the template or plan we devise. He uses a less-linear approach with meta-data that can’t be collected by any human or machine with information only known by the God who not only created the idea of time, but exists both in and outside of time.
Again, I say, it’s okay not be okay. It’s okay not to have the answers, not to know the meaning of your circumstance. It’s okay to have emotions surrounding your every-day life. But just know that one-day, if you allow God to give it to you, you’ll have peace about it all. And it won’t be what you expected, but it will be more significant than you could dream up.
Think back to a pivotal circumstance, the kind of circumstance that changes the entire trajectory of your life. Did you know at that moment what a big deal that was? Usually we don’t see things as they truly are in the moment. Our close proximity to our circumstance gives us heightened emotions and we aren’t able to see clearly. An all-enveloping-emotional-fog-bank rolls over us and it becomes difficult to create meaning out of our circumstance.
But the fog does clear or at least it moves. And as long as you keep moving at a pace in keeping with your visibility, you’ll have just enough information, you’ll see just far enough to make wise decisions and not let the fog control your decisions or destination. At best, the fog is a dictator of pace, perhaps it’s God’s supernatural pace car. I don’t know that for sure, but I do know this…