One of my most favorite friends likes to ask our community group what the Lord is teaching each one of us. One Monday, we flung the question back at her after a special trip she went on with her husband. What she shared was profound. And, just as any girl in a Bible study would do, I wrote it down in my really cute journal designated for Monday nights.
“It is what it is, but it’s not what it seems.”
Right then, it didn’t mean a whole lot to me. But it has really stuck with me over the past several months and the Spirit is slowly showing me what it means.
I’m very predictable when it comes to some things I do. Running is one of those things. Anywhere I have lived, I find a path that’s 2-4 miles and I run the same route every single time.
Last week I was out running my route when I saw a girl (probably my age) pushing her baby in a stroller down the middle of a street. This is an active street, next to an elementary school that many people frequent.
Immediately, I got wound up about it. I was flooded with concern (and judgment, if we’re being honest). First and foremost: um girlfriend, that isn’t safe for you or your baby. Cars drive on the street, and this is a pretty busy street. Also, there’s a sidewalk about 12 feet away. What in the world.
Not surprisingly, my face displayed my internal concern and the girl smiled at me. I got a little closer and she simply pointed to the road and quietly said, “it’s smoother.”
Our experiences and the things that happen to us really are what they are. But they’re not always what they seem.
Sometimes, the Lord takes us (or people in our life) places that seem weird or wrong or unfair or irrelevant. We get concerned, anxious, doubtful, judgey, annoyed, frustrated, presumptuous, depressed and/or filled with self-pity and ask God why He’s taken us to such a place or allowed such a thing to happen to us. Sometimes, He explains Himself then and there. Sometimes, He explains Himself years later. Sometimes, He doesn’t explain himself. And He doesn’t have to. He doesn’t owe us that.
We’re to remember that He’s always behind the scenes, working for the good of the ones who love Him. And things aren’t always what they seem in our human minds. Sometimes the middle of the street is the best path.
This truth has sunk into me and it’s become a real tool in my faith. It’s helping me stop myself when I start questioning God and it’s helping me stop doubting His goodness and His love for me. It’s helping me be less whiny and less near-sighted. It’s helping me ease my constantly anxious heart. It’s bringing me closer to Him.
Things are what they are, but they’re not what they seem. And thank God for that.