Yesterday whilst painting the shed I decided to listen to some music on my iPhone. I had no idea what I wanted to listen to or even if I wanted to listen to it at all, so I did what any good Anglican would do at this point, – I pressed the ‘shuffle’ button and waited to ‘see’ what would happen…
Ok, so what happened next?
Well… I wasn’t abducted by aliens or anything weird like that, I didn’t drop my phone in the tin of paint, neither did my phone start to ring – No… instead, as you’d expect, it started to play music.
Now… whilst I’d heard this song many times before, I’d never really ‘listened’ to the lyrics. (That didn’t matter though, I now had plenty of time to learn them because what I had failed to realise was that although my phone was on ‘shuffle’, it was also on ‘repeat’, and mean as though I was covered in paint at the time, I had no choice but to listen to the same track again, and again, and again…)
It was a song by ‘Rend Collective’ called ‘Broken Bread’. The song speaks of the need to allow God into every aspect of our lives and is about surrendering ourselves fully into his hands, and allowing him to use us as he chooses.
What struck me though were the words: ‘Your will done your way.’
How often do we want to do God’s will, but do it ‘our’ way?
It reminded me of a book I read a few years ago by John Ortberg. Using the illustration of the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land, Ortberg refers to God as the God of ‘the roundabout way’, as instead of the journey taking a few weeks, it ends up taking 40 years! Why? Well, – initially because God didn’t want to lead them via the land of the Philistines as they probably would have just retreated back to Egypt in fear and trembling. However, God knew best, and instead he led them via an alternative route, in order to build their character and to form them as a people.
He does the same today, and whilst it often ‘sucks’ at the time, life in the desert has loads of benefits. It’s in the desert where we often experience strength and courage that we never knew existed, it’s in the desert where we often experience something more of the love of God, and it is in the desert where we often find healing and above all else – hope.
Life doesn’t always turn out how we expect… and I guess if it did then it would be pretty boring and predictable! It’s certainly frustrating though and pretty scary at times, but if we are obedient then he will do the rest.
Here, Lord, is my life. I place it on the altar today. Use it as you will. (Albert Schweitzer)