Friday, October 1, 2010

The Fortune Cookie Game

Have you ever eaten a fortune cookie? Have you ever eagerly anticipated the laugh you were going to get when you opened it up and read the ridiculous “fortune” that lies inside? I happen to love fortune cookies, not so much for the sentiment, but for the sugary goodness that wraps itself around that tiny slip of paper. I love devouring ½ of it quickly, before reading the fortune, because if you read the fortune first, it won’t come true. OK, so that is just superstition, but it makes for a fun end to a delicious meal if you pretend to put faith in the fortune cookie. However, the absolute best part of reading the fortune, even better than making fun of how ridiculous it is, is to add two simple words to the end of the fortune. The words??

In bed.

Allow me to illustrate. Your cookie says, “You will find honor and respect”…in bed! “All of your cares will be washed away”…in bed. “Your decisions today will earn applause”…in bed. Depending on the cookie, those two words, in bed, can have a big impact!

Now let’s take this irreverent concept to another level. Let’s look at the fortunes that really do come true. The fortunes that add meaning to our lives. The fortunes that we actually can put our faith in. Let’s look at the Bible.

Most of you that read this blog, I think, believe in God, trust in His Son to be your personal Savior, and, although perhaps without the regularity we may all desire, you may even read your Bible at least a little bit. (If you don't know Jesus, I am glad you are reading, and please, let me help.) I'm going to make an assumption that most--if not all--of us consider ourselves a “work in progress” and at times, certain passages of the Bible are our lifelines. I praise God that He is not finished with me yet, that I still have the privilege of growing more mature in Him...and in my times of trial, mistake, failure, disappointment, defeat, discouragement, or questioning, I cling to the hope of scripture...
Phil 1:18a&19 Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through our prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
Phil 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
1st Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.
Proverbs 11:18 The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.
Matthew 7:11 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!

It’s kind of like opening a fortune cookie, you know, when we open our Bibles and land on a lifeline nugget like one of those. God will meet all your needs. Sow righteousness to reap a sure reward. Suffering is a blessing. And on, and on, and on.

But what about the times that reading something that reassuring actually sounds as absurd as the fortune in the middle of a cookie? What about the days that suffering is notsoverymuch a blessing? What about the days that the wicked man’s wages are so plentiful they nearly bury him alive, while your reward is, shall we say, meager at best? What about the times you ask and do not receive? What do we do when the promises of scripture do not line up with what we are going through. When the promises seem like they are for everyone else but us. Do we laugh at His Word, chalk it up to the nonsense worth a fortune cookie, and walk away??

As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts, declares the Lord in Isaiah 55 verse 9. You see, nowhere in the Bible does God ever promise that it will all make sense to us. Nowhere does He say, this is the magic trick. Do this. Quite the contrary, He purposely, by His great design, leaves gaps that only faith can fill in. It's what do we do with that, when challenged, that is up to us. And I have found, in the questioning moments of my life, that if I just play the fortune cookie game, it all makes sense. Of course, I don’t’ say ‘in bed’. I say “in Heaven”. Two little words, in Heaven.

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. In Heaven.

The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward. In Heaven.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through our prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. In Heaven.

Just adding those two words reminds me that no matter what is happening, God will redeem it. That no matter how little sense my life makes to me sometimes, God is working. That even when the promises in scripture do not match up to my reality of my requests, I can choose faith in my Savior or I can choose defeat. He may not make everything beautiful today, but He will—eventually—make all things new. In Heaven.

1st Thessalonians 5:24…The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.

2 comments:

lisasmith said...

Love it Shelly!!

Lelia Chealey said...

Hello! I saw your comment on Lysa T's blog and also saw you are in Nebraska! Me too!! Also that you love Beth Moore! We have so much in common! :) I'm on the Lifeway planning team & Beth is coming to Lincoln June 24-25th at Pershing. E-mail me at chealey5@yahoo.com and I can send you all the info. And I don't know why you're not blogging, but you should, this is really good stuff! :) Nice to "meet you".
Lelia Chealey