I used to hate roller coasters. Absolutely hate them. They scared me to death because I hated going fast and not being in control of where or how fast I was going. I disliked the idea of being forced onto some predetermined track and then being shot into unknown territory by way of sharp turns and dark tunnels. It completely baffled me that people would find them in any way thrilling or fun. It wasn’t until high school when on a church trip I went on my first real roller coaster (Viper at Magic Mtn) to impress a girl so that she wouldn’t think I was a wimp. Even after that I still didn’t like it completely, but it wasn’t as bad as I originally thought it was going to be. Screaming helped a lot.
The last few months have felt like a really smooth roller coaster, almost like the Monorail at Disneyland. Things are, for the most part, looking pretty optimistic. I’ve received some major guidance from God and He’s been really gracious to me in over and abundant ways. The last week, on the other hand, has felt a little like that first real roller coaster. You see, He still has completely laid out my bath before me yet. He’s pulled back the curtain just a smidge and there are rays of light, glimpses of future blessing, peaking out. When I see them I get really excited and anxious and just want to scream, “JUST PULL IT ALL THE WAY ALREADY!!” Within the last week God has answered one of my major prayers: my wife Molly has been really stressed out for the last 6 months, mainly over her thesis. Lately, she hasn’t had any motivation to write it, and in all honesty I don’t blame her. I mean, who wants to just up and write a 50-page research paper? I understand that it would have been a wonderful trophy and something to be really proud of; and Lord knows I would have been first in line to congratulate her. However, she was stressing out over it so much because she just couldn’t seem to find the time or the energy to go research. It didn’t help that she was working 2 jobs and going to school, either. Anyways, I was praying and praying that God would provide a way out because I just couldn’t stand for her to continue on stressing like this. I wanted to see her enjoy her education like she used to and to simply enjoy learning. It wasn’t at all that I didn’t think she could write it; on the contrary I had full confidence that she would be able to do it. I just didn’t want it to be overly difficult, especially if she it didn’t have to be that way. Well, the Lord was merciful as He always is and provided a way out, and already the old bubbly Molly is back again, footloose and fancy free. It’s absolutely wonderful and I can’t thank God enough. (Just to clarify, Molly is not dropping out, she’s just choosing to write the comp exams instead of the thesis. She’ll still be Master Molly Keating at the end of this year. Stoked, bro…) Even better, she’s decided to get back into doing ministry at our church. I’ll let her tell you about it when she’s ready, I don’t want to jump the gun.
However, He has still reminded me, by way of unseen sharp turns and dark tunnels that have popped up in the last 2 days, that this is the way that He best prepares me for the journey ahead: one part Monorail, one part freaky loopy roller coaster. Uncertainty is, without a doubt, God’s greatest tool for shaping his disciples. If He told us everything we would have no reason to trust Him and without Him to trust, the only thing we have left to lean on is ourselves, which is the ultimate folly (Prov 3:5-6). So…the Lord hasn’t completely pulled back the curtain, and I don’t think He will for a while. And even when he does there will only be a small production set in place, with another curtain behind that. His full plan for my life will be unveiled in stages, with the final act being the most glorious. I won’t lie, there are times when it really irks me. Those glimpses of future blessing that he shows me every so often are sometimes like a teaser trailer for a movie I’m really looking forward to (Harry Potter 7.2!!), but other times they’re blurred road signs along a dark path that are frustrating to me. And then there are other times when I think I’m fooling myself and I begin to doubt his glorious and blessed plan for me altogether and I think that I’m reading too much into just random circumstances. And as much as I hate the uncertainty of it and the fact that to some degree it’s predetermined, it’s not as bad as I originally thought it was going to be. Screaming helps a lot.