I marvel at my wife. She is undoubtedly one of the best cooks on the planet. Yesterday, she whipped up a batch of her amazing brownies to go with our homemade vanilla ice cream. She took a recipe that she had marked as one of her favorites, placed it on the counter and began following the steps that she had followed many times resulting in perfect brownies. The recipe, if followed correctly, works every time.
Sometimes, I wish life were like this: a simple recipe. We do the things that are "right", follow what God asks us to do, write it down and pull it out and follow the steps every time we need it. However, I have found that a life that is called to follow God is never as simple as following a recipe. There is no cookie cutter philosophy in cross-filled living. I wish there were but my experience and the Bible proves otherwise.
Yes, there are general Biblical principles that we all should strive to live by. Yes, there are some practical spiritual disciplines that we all should seek to cultivate. But over and over I am amazed at those who seek to follow God with all their heart and in all their practices and decisions can arrive at very different destinations. There is no guarantee that if we "do the right things", life will be all that we expect it to be.
* Consider the parents who raise their children according to God's word. One turns out a lover of God and the other turns out a prodigal.
* What about a young mother who lives according to God's laws and ways and wakes up one more to find that she will soon die of cancer leaving too soon a family behind.
* Or the father who does everything right to the best of his knowledge and ability who loses his job and self-esteem and cannot provide for his family anymore.
It just seems unfair. At least from a worldly standard.
The truth is, we live in a world that God loves but it is a fallen world. A world that was meant to be something else and is becoming something else. It is a world that brings, at times, unspeakable joy and happiness but at the same time sin, death, suffering and pain.
We are created with a purpose to learn to love God and keep our eyes and hearts fixed on Him. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves or our loved ones in, our call is to constantly seek the face of God and Jesus, focusing on Him and His perfection and not our present trials.
In my perfect world, "A" plus "B" plus "C" would equal "D". That makes sense to me. In God's world, add the same things together and you might come up with "Z". The truth is that there are no failsafe recipes to make life here turn out the way that we all desire.
And this should not be discouraging. Rather, it should be liberating to know that no matter what the outcome of this life, no matter what results in the final equation of life, our eyes should be fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith because it is in Him we move, breathe and have our life.
The prize is not our expectations of what should turn out when we get the recipe right. It should be God Himself and His Son Jesus.