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  • Katie Smith

The end of the story

You know those cartoons where a character is running around doing so much that smoke spews from her ears and springs fly out with dust tornadoes spiraling into the air. I know many Americans feel that same sense of "craze" because its a culturally expected to remain busy. Road living may dictate a slower physical pace, but in the almost three months in our rig, my emotions have to mimicked that crazy character. We have experienced so many big changes culturally, geographically, physically, and relationally that my head was spinning after we re-entered the States.

Too often we want to skip ahead to the end of the story and stop the emotionally breakdown in the middle. We lean on our norms, our routines, or our past experiences to get us through the hard parts so that we understand what's actually happening in the current plotline. Whenever I've read a story to our boys, and it's too late to finish, I'll use the cliche, "to be continued." They almost always lose their minds. WE HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS! YOU HAVE TO FINISH THE STORY! WE CAN"T WAIT!

None of us knows the end of our stories until it's THE END, but if we can't stop and analyze the plot every now and again, the springs come loose. Many people who stress and worry about an unknown future--facing divorce, cancer, or perhaps sudden death-- tend to cut out everything that could possibly lead to such a tragic ending. More often than not, they miss the exciting parts of the story that God is trying to thread through their "to be continued" moments.

When my son was diagnosed with a rare hip disease, after years of unrelated surgeries, he had been battling pain for over a year without knowing why. God could have revealed it sooner, and he avoided the extensive pain, but hindsight proved God's timing is perfect.

Likewise, a friend recently told me that she and her family went tent camping, and there was a terrible storm that took away their cell service. They had no idea until after the fact that they were in the middle of an actual hurricane. Friends and family had been frantically trying to get in touch with them to no avail. Had they had service to see the weather, she said they may not have had such great family memories on the night of that hurricane.

When we were in a small Mexican town a telephone poll snagged the back of our rig on a tight street, but we didn't realize it until much later. Had we known about it when it first happened, we would have missed a lovely moment at a small beachside cafe. Or take another time when we sat by a beautiful vineyard in a different small Mexican town, we had no idea that our rig was flooding at that moment. Had we known we would have missed another magical moment. Blissful ignorance can be a gift from God.

"“Tell us,' the disciples said, 'When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'" (Matthew 24:3). The disciples, like us, wanted to skip to the end. They wanted to be "in the know." It's not a bad thing to want to know. But we don't have to try and play God in order to make sure we are on top of all the potential disasters before they happen. God reveals Himself in our circumstances, even in the most tragic ones, so that we trust and give Him glory rather than our own great forethought.

When God withholds something from us, a diagnosis, a relational sin, or an upcoming hardship then there is no use in trying to find out sooner. When God wants you know, you'll know. When your head is spinning or smoke spews from your ears, stop, pray, and ask Him to help you absorb all that you are experiencing. Don't try to skip ahead and figure out what he's doing. He will give you what you need, when you need it. When you are living with your own sense of control, you miss experiencing God's providential hand in every area of your life. There is no denying Him when you give up trying to be Him.

As God reveals himself to us, we want nothing more than to be with Him-- trusting our outcomes are in His hands. After we finish seeing family in northern California, we'll head a little east and see what happens... To be continued...

~Ending Carefully and Carelessly

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