Hi. I’m Ken Jones, and this is A Classic State of Mind, with a word about … The Pass
I’m sort of weird, I think, because sometimes, what rattles around in my mind almost scares me. Yesterday, because I had time to think, a thought wandered into my head and decided to sit down and spread out. The longer I thought about this ‘thought,’ the more it seemed to spread out in my mind. It was this thought:
If God decided to let me have a choice. If God let me choose a ‘free pass,’ and instead of walking in the life He has prepared for me, with all its challenges and twists and turns and uncertainties — if God said for as long as you wish, I will remove my plan for you, and allow you to design your own plan — would I take him up on it?
His plan for my life no doubt includes some incredibly painful things in my future. Who likes pain. If God let me choose a life without pain, instead of the one He has led me through, would I take him up on his offer? How quick am I to pray, “O Lord, take this pain away” or “O Lord, deliver me from this danger.” If I didn’t have to pray that prayer. If I just designed a life for myself free of that pain or anxiety. If God let me be in charge of my life-challenges, instead of the challenges he has allowed to come my way … would I take him up on his offer?
I hate uncertainty. Not knowing what’s ahead in my life has always been so difficult for me. If God said to me, “I’m going to hand you a pass, and when you put that pass in your pocket, you will be able to actually see what events await you from now until your death. You will be able to see what’s going to happen in this world. You’ll be able to see into your future before it gets here. And you will be able to see the day, the date, the time you will die, and in fact, how you will die.” If such a pass was available to me, would I put it in my pocket?
Or what about something like disappointment? If God said, “I know the life I have granted you has had many disappointments. If you would like, I will allow you to choose your own path, and design and live a life free of any disappointment.” How tempted would I be to take him up on the offer?
Of course, such a silly thought isn’t a wise thing to even contemplate. My life is held in the firm grip of Jesus. He said, “I will never leave you; I will never forsake you.” And he would no more think of allowing me to choose what’s best for me — he would no more trust me to choose my own way, design my own life, come up with my own plan — than a caring parent would allow their small child to decide what to eat, or when to go to bed, or when to cross a busy street. Love compels direction because of immaturity, and an inability to understand ‘deferred gratification.’
Elizabeth O’Connor, in her book, Journey Inward, Journey Outward, speaks of what she calls ‘the illusion that something can be had for nothing.’ She writes, “It is part of our sickness that we go after the high prize with so little understanding of the cost and so poorly equipped to meet and withstand the armies that will do battle against us. We do not ask for courage, because we do not know we have need of it.” That’s the way it is with so many of life’s struggles, I think. The only reason I would desire a life free of pain is that I am ignorant of the tremendous benefit the pain God allows represents in my life.
How foolish I would be to assume that I can fashion a life with more fulfillment and meaning than God’s exquisite design? Because my life is hidden in Christ with God … I would be wise to take a pass on any imaginary pass to a different way than His.