Do you ever feel like your life has been bumping you around like a bumper car ride in a carnival? Just when you get your eyes focused in one direction – BAM! You’re bumped into another. Then just when it feels kind of safe – BAM! You get blind-sided and off you go again in a direction you had not been headed. This was not your plan. This was not your road map. This was not your career path. I never did like bumper car rides. I like to play it safe.
I am studying the book of Esther with a wonderful group of ladies and this morning as I woke up, she was on my mind. God began to show me how her life and ours sometimes feels just like that – a bumper car ride.
Let’s take a look at Esther’s life. She was a child with a father and mother. No worries – right? Then – BAM! Both parents died and she was an orphan. Then, the Bible tells us her male cousin took her as his own daughter and raised her. I’m sure that was quite different from being raised by a mother and father (especially as a girl) – BAM! Another bump in her road. Well, then come her teenage years (enough in itself – right?) and – BAM! Here come the king’s commissioners who are searching for beautiful girls to bring (parade really) before the king so he can select a new queen from among them. Now she’s uprooted once more and taken away from her home to go with all the other young ladies to the king’s palace. Of course they don’t really go right from their homes to see the king. Not only are they forced from their homes into this “program of sorts” – a year-long beauty treatment program, but they are now in competition with each other. Yikes! That would be hard to even form real and true friendships. How lonely they must have felt. Well, after a year, Esther is presented before the king and she finds favor in his eyes. Then, you guessed it – BAM! The king likes Esther and she’s made queen and presented with a crown. Now things are going along as you would expect when all of a sudden after a few years (5, I think), the king doesn’t call for her any longer. It’s been a month since she’s been in his presence. [She can’t speak or see him unless he requests her. – Can you imagine?] Now, another crisis arises and her male cousin asks her to go before the king and make a request of him (which when not summoned could and probably would cost her life) – BAM! Another bumper car hit her. This time so hard she got whiplash. Well, there is so much to this story – you have to read it yourself but it made me think of my life and probably most of us. Things happen that we never in a million years expected. How do we handle them?
In Proverbs 3:5-6, God tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.”
It seems to me that my path is never straight for very long. How about you? What I think this really means is that even with all the bumps, turns, stops and starts, if we trust in God, He will be doing the navigating for us. Those bumps and turns just may be his GPS system directing us to our destination. The thing is, we have to trust Him and make sure we are keeping our eyes on Him. Only God knows the entire plan and sees the entire picture. We have to wait for hind-sight to see how He worked it all together for good.
Years ago I did a study by Henry Blackaby called Experiencing God. I don’t have the book in front of me but if I remember correctly, in that study I believe he called all those “bumps” a crisis of belief. Do we believe God really can do anything – even with us and in this situation? If so, we must pray, seek and trust Him and then step out in faith. As a friend once told me, we need to Let Go and Let God!
We’re in the ride of our lives and we only get one shot. When we get bumped around, let’s make sure we keep our eyes on Jesus, hang on and ride it out. As long as we are following God, we will be on the right (straight and narrow) path – even if it seems pretty bumpy and jagged.
Have a great ride!