A few years ago, I was witnessing a good friend of mine head into a very exciting new opportunity. I remember having a moment of wishing something like that for myself and my family. Not so much coveting, just dreaming. Wouldn’t it be nice?
Within about a year, I was attending a workshop where in one of the exercises we were asked to close our eyes and envision our future. If money, or time, or responsibilities were not a hindrance and we could do/be anything what would it look like? I thought of my friends opportunity. Yes, that would be nice.
Then we were tasked to take a look at our day to day schedule and identify what things we were doing that would support that goal, and what was keeping us from that goal.
In very short order, I realized that some things in my life had changed. This dream that once seemed so far away wasn’t really all that unreasonable. I came home and began to do some research. What would that cost? Running the numbers, the math added up. We could do it. Not necessarily that year, but once we got on the other side of some expenses… reasonable.
I was excited. Then life was interrupted. We went through a season that brought with it unexpected expenses, unexpected demands of our time, unexpected demands on our energy, and frankly a season of recovery for the family. The dream was placed to the back burner. A little disappointed, but moving on.
Fast forward to this week.
I am watching my friend walk through the unimaginable. That dream turned into a nightmare. But here is the thing, my friend is in a position that she can recover from that nightmare. The turn of events didn’t destroy her family, their financial stability, etc. It is still just awful and something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
However, I was made keenly aware that had I taken the jump back then… if we moved things around and made that dream a reality…. it would be very, very different for us. For my family, this would have been unrecoverable for us.
One of my mentors often reminds me that we must be not just thankful for what God does in our lives, but also how He saves us from what we can’t know.
There was a quote from John Piper, I wish I could recall it’s origins, where he basically states God may be working out hundreds of things in the background for our good and we may be only keenly aware of two or three.
We feel the wounds from the arrows the enemy slings that hit us, and that pain keeps us from counting the arrows that zing by never even grazing us.
I am thankful I didn’t pursue that opportunity. I am sorry for my friend who lost so much, and I have seen how God has grown her through her circumstance.
Yet, I also find peace in knowing that despite how hard things seem, how much weight it feels like we are carrying… that there has been so much we have been spared. We may never know how much. I’m not even sure once we get on the other side of glory God will reveal those things to us. Would we even care at that point?
But, I will hold on to knowing that we have been spared.
Spared from what we don’t deserve, and spared from what we do.