If you're like most people today, you're used to moving fast and expecting quick results. The problem with that—or at least part of the problem—is that what was enough yesterday seldom seems to be enough today, and escalating personal expectations carry over to what you expect from other people and from life in general.
You struggle to keep pace with the world, but at the same time you can’t help that some things simply take time. Most problems at work or with your health or relationships can’t be solved with the click of a mouse or the push of a button.
Sometimes, at the most unexpected times, we get little revelations that clarify perspective, give insight, and recharge our faith. I got one of those the other day.
It had been a long few months financially speaking, and now our vehicle was in the repair shop. As I waited for my husband to call me with the cost estimate, I asked God why this was happening to us now, of all times. “We’re already struggling,” I pleaded. “How can we afford an expensive repair on our vehicle?”
No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?
—Lee Iacocca (b. 1924), American businessman and author
If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.
—Albert Camus (1913–1960), French author and philosopher
When I am not wearing my glasses, everything a few feet away strains my vision, and anything past that is a blur. I have been wearing glasses for about 20 years, but sometimes there are situations where I can’t or won’t wear them. When that happens, I invariably miss most of what is going on around me.
Once my husband Mike and I were leaving a hairdressing salon when, out of the blue it seemed, Mike started talking about a friend of ours. She had, in fact, been in the salon the entire time, but my range of focus had been so limited that I hadn’t even seen her.
Today I’m 65. I have officially entered the ranks of the elderly. As of today, I’m an “old man.”
What a wretched little word—“old”! It conjures up other words like “decrepit” and “declining” and “dementia.” It doesn’t describe what I am or how I feel. It’s almost insulting!
I have come to realize that God takes His time. Perhaps that comes from being eternal. He has all the time in the world, so why should He hurry?
God is an investor, not a speculator. He doesn’t “buy” something today with the intention of “selling” it tomorrow. Sure, He wants to get high returns on His investments, but He can wait a very long time if need be. He invests in people, and He doesn’t seem to mind the time it takes for that investment to pay off. Knowing the future also comes in handy, no doubt.
Life is full of choices. Every day there are choices, large and small, and every day that passes leaves a greater legacy of past choices. Some turned out to be good, some bad, some a bit of both, and some we’re not yet sure about, but each played a part in making us what we are.
Here are a few principles that I find helpful when thinking about the past and what has brought me to where I am today.
Our future isn’t limited by our past. No matter what decisions we have made or what others decided for us, and no matter what point we are at now, the future is still as bright as God’s promises—ones like these: “If you have faith ... nothing will be impossible for you,”1 and “All things are possible to him who believes.”2 If you’re not where you want to be, there is time to change that. Where there is life, there is hope.
At the start of last year I set off on a journey. Sitting on a pier, breathing in the salty sea air, I felt surges of both excitement and trepidation as my eyes scanned an ocean of time that stretched ahead.
In the course of my voyage, I sometimes faced turmoil and adversity. The turquoise sea became a churning, foaming expanse of dark, angry waves. Stinging rain and blustering winds battered my ship. But there were also times of blessings and steady progress, when bright sunlight sparkled on rolling waves and gentle breezes carried my boat forward.
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is a beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Question: Why is it that some people seem to lead charmed lives? They have perfect looks, perfect health, lots of natural abilities, and lots of friends—everything—while people like me seem to have no end of deficiencies and problems.
Answer: On the surface, things often don’t seem fair, but a lot goes on in every person’s life that is unseen by others. In the wise words of King Solomon in the Bible, “To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven.”1 Not everyone goes through the same rough spots or at the same time, but everyone has their share eventually.