We all know how life makes surprising twists and turns, taking us to places we never imagined via routes we couldn’t have expected. It’s almost like asking the question, “How do I get to…?” and getting the reply, “You can’t get there from here – you have to go somewhere else first.”
The path for my career as a writer and editor, for instance, has hardly followed a straight course. Including my college studies, it took me from New Jersey to Houston, Texas; to Columbus, Ohio; to suburban Philadelphia; back to Columbus; then back to Houston; and finally, to Chattanooga, Tenn. It turned into a “scenic route” no one at AAA or a GPS would have plotted for me.
I was reminded of this while listening to a song by Casting Crowns called, “Just Be Held.” The lyrics include the refrain, “Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place.” Whenever we’re in the midst of major, unanticipated and unwanted changes, or confronted by times of great hardship or adversity, we can easily buy into the idea that our world is falling apart. But “falling into place”? Not so much.
And yet, with the wonderful, 20:20 clarity of hindsight, it’s heartening when we discover that what seemed falling apart at the time was indeed part of God’s grand scheme for making things fall into place. At times, we overuse Romans 8:28, casually applying it like ointment for the wounds life inflicts. But we can’t overstate its truth: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
It’s like the Lord’s way of saying, “You may think things are falling apart – but I’m using circumstances so that your world will eventually fall into place.”
When we’re young, it might be a romance that ends abruptly, leaving us feeling shattered. Hopes may be dashed when a young person’s college of choice fails to extend an invitation to enroll. It could be a much-hoped-for job offer that never comes, or being out of work due to corporate downsizing or other factors beyond one’s control. A devastating medical diagnosis that can turn formerly serene lives into seemingly endless chaos. Or after managing to juggle finances from month to month, suddenly finding the pay ends long before the month does.
Many other events can flip lives upside-down. Everything seems to be falling apart, placing us on the brink of despair. At such times, it helps to remember that what appears to be falling apart from our limited perspective could be neatly falling into place – from God’s point of view.
When our lives feel like the light at tunnel’s end has burned out, in the words of Casting Crowns’ “Just Be Held,” we need to remember: “So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away, you’re not alone; stop holding on and just be held.”
One of my favorite words in the Bible is “behold.” It’s what the angels used when they announced the birth of the Christ child to the shepherds. It’s a biblical way of saying, “Hey, listen up!” So, when life takes a sudden turn, leaving you disoriented and dismayed, remember:Behold! Let yourself be held by the One you’re beholding.