Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pardon Me, But There's a Roach in My Happy Story

I remember when Cheryl, a woman from my old church, told me how she had met her husband. It certainly wasn't your typical "Boy meets girl" scenario...

Apparently, she was at a restaurant and saw a roach crawl across her salad. Not being a fan of bugs, she screamed, jumped up, turned around to run away and plowed into some guy who happened to be walking behind her chair at that moment.

She ended up marrying that guy.

When I heard this I said, "I cannot believe there is a roach in your happy story!" But she didn't seem to care. After all, she was pretty happy with the ultimate outcome.

So tonight for no particular reason I was thinking back to all of this and realized that pretty much ANY story I've heard of blessing, redemption, providence, and God's mercies has included waiting, hardship, and pain--a "roach" in the mix, so to speak.

What about Hannah, who waited years without bearing a child, all the while being taunted and tormented by an unkind (and super-fertile) woman? Even one of those things would be plenty to endure, but she faced both. But God remembered Hannah, and she bore a son.

Or how about Job, who suffered the loss of his livestock, his family, and was afflicted with sores from head to toe--sure, the Lord blessed him with double at the end of it all, but what devastation he endured! I'm sure it seemed nothing good could come from all of that being part of the story.

Even the story of the end of Jesus' life had a "roach" in the mix, to put it mildly: Accusations, crucifixion, and ultimately the death of the One in whom many had come to believe. Everyone was left standing there wondering, "What just happened?" But Sunday was coming.

Perhaps you're on the other side of a wait, a hardship, a trial, and you can look back at the "roach" in the salad. And NOW you can recognize it as the thing that ushered you into a place where you could receive the mercies, the providence, the blessings.

But maybe you're not there yet. Maybe you're sitting down to a roach in your salad, and you can't see how anything good can come from it, and the whole situation is just crappy, for a lack of a better word.

I know it's hard. But be on the lookout for your story to change--perhaps when you least expect it to. That roach in your salad might just send you running smack dab into something immeasurably more than all you could ask or imagine.

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