Estimated reading time: 5 minutes:-)
“God’s timing is perfect.”
“He has a plan.”
I hear these often.
But in the moments I desperately want them to be true, they somehow fall short. It’s hard to have peace in times like these. How can I accept the timing of an early death? How can I trust a plan I can’t see? How can I stop worrying about the turmoil we live in?
Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
This verse has perfectly epitomized my last 365 days. In every sphere of my life, God has reached down and established my steps, often in a direction I never expected. Relationships have ended, and new ones blossomed. My entire reality regarding school and church has flipped upside down. Work looks different, friends look different, life looks different. We’re moving into a new house, not far away.
A year ago, I was writing stories for fun in my backyard, listening to the rustle of the trees in hopeful anticipation that one day, I might be an author. Just 365 days later, my aspirations have shifted entirely: I hope to get on the bestsellers list, attend book signings, and maintain my life as a student during the entire process.
And looking at all the changes now, it’s easy to see the beauty in God’s design. But in the midst of all that change, I struggled.
Even now, in the midst of all that is happening in the world, I struggle to see God’s hand in any of it. I never thought I would compliment a customer’s mask during work. I never thought working in a mall would be dangerous. I never thought my favorite childhood cartoons would be politicized.
And I don’t mention these things as if I am the victim of everything that is wrong in the world. Perhaps the thing that scares me the most is that we all contribute. Even myself.
But I constantly ask myself, where is God? What is he doing?
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
Is there a season for a world pandemic? For riots and protests? For political insanity and turmoil? For division and confusion?
Last October, I was in a season of pain. I weekly went to church alone and sat in the back. I had recently been rejected by a literary agent. School was kicking my butt, and no one was accepting my novel for publication. I couldn’t find a job. Every morning, I skipped breakfast because I was constantly running late, and sleep deprivation was getting to me.
But one day, I stumbled across a song.
It was not the kind of song you hear on the radio. It was old. The kind of song that can’t be found on the internet unless you include the band with the title.
The lyrics hit me like a train:
“Because I’ll never hold the picture
Of the whole horizon in my view
Because I’ll never rip the night in two
It makes me wonder
Who am I, Who am I, Who am I
And great are you.”“Great Are You” by Downhere
I thought of a huge mosaic picturing a beautiful sunrise listening to this song. Each piece of the mosaic was a different color, a different time, a different season. Some were bright and happy, the pieces that built the sunshine. Others were dark, the shadows that gave the picture volume and beauty.
And I realized: you can’t mess up a perfect plan.
I often think of God as an artist. He builds our mosaics, paints our stories every day. Each challenge or tribulation adds a dark piece to the mosaic, one black stroke to the painting. And each triumph adds lighter pieces, colorful strokes. But no matter how many dark pieces there are, God still creates a unique, beautiful masterpiece. He’s too good of an artist to mess up your story.
Right now, a lot of dark pieces are being added to our mosaics. And even though I can only see these dark pieces now, I know there is beauty even now and even here.
And maybe one day, I’ll be able to see the masterpiece God created.
Maybe it will be dark, with only a few rays of sunlight rising from the horizon. Maybe it will be bright, filling the sky with morning light.
But whatever it looks like, I know it will be beautiful.