In one of his most famous lines, Forest Gump prophetically stated, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get." Well, Forest, I'm here to tell you that God's plan is far more organized than that (and hopeful...since I really don't like the strawberry cream ones) and he sees it much more like a huge jig-saw puzzle. The catch is, only the Lord has the benefit of seeing the top of the box revealing the masterpiece that is created when all the pieces are laid down just right. In showing me this vision, I believe I gained a small insight into what the "Lord's will" looks like as it pertains to human choice.
To make this clearer, I'm going to dump out the pieces and start laying them down one at a time.
1. Leanne- My friend Leanne lost her daughter Maitlyn at 19 weeks gestation. Leanne taught me that faith can move mountains. The mountains are events in life that otherwise would become huge obstacles to us in our walk with God and believing what he says is true. Having a child die is a mountain. Leanne chose to believe God. She committed to run 19 races in 2009 in honor of Maitlyn's life here on Earth. In the process she showed countless others that they can keep running in faith too.
3. Lauren-My friend Lauren discovered that her unborn son Jonathon had a chromosomal abnormality that would not be compatible with life. In a world that encouraged her to terminate his life and negate his purpose, Lauren believed God. She created a blog entitled Jonathon's Journey which honestly revealed the struggles that all of us go through in our faith, especially when the road is hard. Lauren's openness as she poured out her heart to God showed the rest of us it is okay to do the same. Her story was featured in the Northwest FL Daily News. The day Jonathon was born her blog had thousands of hits to it, revealing that her faith walk along Jonathon's journey was more than healing to Lauren; it was healing for all of us. Lauren showed us all that our faith although intimate is not meant to stay private; it needs to be shared to fulfill God's fully intended purpose.
How do these women and the piece of the puzzle that they hold fit together? You see, at any point they could have chosen not believe God. God's perfect will is the picture on the top of the jig saw puzzle box lid when all the pieces fit just right. If we choose not to cooperate with his will, then pieces are missing or have to be left out. But by believing him in faith, they allowed him to use their circumstances and create something with new life. Individually one could say they are stories of heartache. But together, when laid down side by side, inter-connected and fastened together with God's hand, they created a picture of the mighty display of God's splendor for all to see. God is the re-builder. He takes broken and shattered lives and rebuilds them for his glory. We have the choice any time to believe him or not. His word says, "I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you but to give you a hope and future." Jer 29:11. I know in the moment each of these women had the choice as to whether to believe God; they were challenged to believe whether losing a child could produce hope. I can say this because I stood there right beside them. However ,when you die to self and surrender to the risen Christ, he will bring you back to life in a new way. Just like the acorn planted in the ground turns into a mighty oak, so the lives of these women and their children turned into an amazing testimony of hope. God promised these women in Isaiah 61...
"to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor."
I saw this come to fruition at the Run for New Life. Honestly, it took my breath away.
The finished picture was something like this....