Daily Devotion - Friday, January 8, 2016
I did something the other day that I've never done before. I bought a pair of shoes online. Someone had given me a gift card, so I decided to use it to buy this awesome pair of two-tone, Oxford wingtips. I wrestled with the idea of buying them without having the benefit of trying them on first, but I pulled the trigger. I live on the edge, I know.
So the shoes arrived yesterday, and I took them out of the box, and proudly displayed them for the family to see. "Those are some awesome shoes," my wife admitted. My kids barely glanced up from their phones and video games, but then what do they know? They wouldn't know an Oxford wingtip from a slip on pair of Crocs. Then my wife added this little query: "Are you sure they fit?"
"Yes!" I exclaimed, even though I had no empirical evidence whatsoever to back it up. I figured that if I said it out loud, and wanted it bad enough that the shoes would indeed fit as I imagined them.
Only they didn't. I tried, trust me. I untied all of the shoelaces and attempted to jam my foot into them, to no avail. Despite the fact that the size of the shoe was the size I typically wear, they wouldn't fit. I was reminded then of the words of Dolly Parton when she burst the seams on a very tight fitting dress during an award's ceremony: "You can't fit 9 pounds of mud in a 5 pound bag."
I'm returning the ill-fitting shoes for a larger size. It's going to take a lot longer to make that happen, but when it's all said and done, my shoes will fit, and they'll look awesome. I'll wear them to church as soon as I get them. As much as I would like to wear those snazzy shoes this Sunday, it won't happen. I'm just going to have to wait.
Sometimes we want so desperately for something to work that we abandon all good sense and try to force our way into it. We do this with relationships--falling in love with the wrong people, ignoring good advice, and getting our hearts broken. We do this with our careers--pursuing success and status at all costs. We sometimes even do this with our faith in God--clinging desperately to the notion that all God really wants is what we really want.
In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul addressed this very thing when he said, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil 4:6-7)
In other words, instead of trying to force your way into something that doesn't fit--let go of your desires for immediate gratification and give the whole thing to God. Without a doubt, God has something even better for you in mind that might require some patience on your part in order to experience it. Let go of your desires to have what you want when you want it, and you will open yourself up to the kind of peace that "surpasses all understanding."
May you enter this new year with the courage to be patient and wait on the blessings of God. May you find wisdom and peace in your relationships, career, family life and faith. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.