Plastic gingerbread pieces and visions of scrumptious lands beckoned childhood wonder. Candy Land’s cards with colored blocks and enticing images meant hidden possibilities. Just the right draw placed you on Rainbow Trail or Mountain Pass, ahead of everyone else. One sweet picture early in the game could take you far and prompted other world imaginations.
Wherever I landed, it was rarely where I wanted to be. There was always some place better.
I couldn’t stand the wait, the slow process, and especially not the setbacks. I wanted to jump to where the king waited for me. Bypasses, double purple squares, and floating ice cream sandwiches all brought me closer to my goal. Going slow, one square at a time, was frustrating at best.
Occasionally, I’d get what I wanted, but the thrill rarely lasted.
Resentment grew if others advanced faster. “They don’t have to wait in the middle like me,” I thought. I wanted what they had. I even manipulated the outcome in my favor by stacking the cards just right. It didn’t matter how much I tried to make it work for me though, I usually got sent back anyway.
Sometimes, I’d land on pitfalls and stop moving forward at all.
My childish heart stirred with anger and disappointment.
Like most things in life, I wanted the ending now. I wanted entry into the King’s palace and everything else that appealed to me along the way.
When You Want to Skip the Path
I still want paths that skip slow turns and keep me away from stuck spaces. I want double portions of blessings as I go. Give me the delightful glimpse of heaven’s gates and let’s leave the rest of this journey behind. Shall we?
With the hope of something better always in front of me, I want what can be and struggle receiving good in what is. I place the burden of heavenly perfection on worldly situations. No matter when I am, I want what’s new and improved.
I think I just want to be with Jesus where everything is perfect, but if I’m honest, my desire isn’t so much about being with Him as it is to get away from struggle. I want relief from the life I live today so I can have the life He’s planned for the future.
When faced with challenging circumstances, I envision a perfected remedy. I see the potential beauty of a life worked out – my way.
What I fail to see is how God’s work is always good, even when He lets me go from here to there and back again. I fail to remember His way is better than my own. No matter how many times I don’t get the sweet things I want.
See His Presence in the Path
My attempts to fulfill immature desires keep me from desiring His faithful presence now.
God reminds me I don’t have to wait to enjoy Him. He gives access to life with Him in every step of our back and forth journeys.
God knew we’d want to see all things set right. Our heavenly desire is designed to draw us to Him.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV
He knew we’d long for what we can’t yet see. In this place, God asks us to trust what He foresees.
Life’s not all about sweet things, but a sweet desire wrapped in God’s love, fulfilled by God’s life in us.
The Struggle in the Steps
Since Adam and Eve, we’ve attempted to figure things out for ourselves and make it happen at any cost. We’ve struggled to find rest for the sacred journey of now.
We’re longing for the gates of heaven to come into sight without remembering heaven’s presence with us. We need to receive what’s already here even when we can’t see it.
The troubled marriage, the difficult child, the pressing finances, and the unhealed wounds of life, they weigh our hearts with burdens we weren’t designed for. We were created for a future home. Because of God, we’re empowered to live in this one.
In every slow and frustrating step, we want to know we’re making progress. But when we keep our focus on the treasured outcomes of this world, we’re distracted. We’re missing out on kingdom beauty available in every pitfall.
My heart needs reminders that the King is here, right now.
He isn’t just waiting at the gates. He’s with us here. Right here. He’s also preparing our place and fighting battles on our behalf. He’s offering us hope that’s far better than any Candy Land image. The King of Heaven prepares our hearts for future glories as we receive His life in us today.
I don’t want to miss joy in the journey because I’m distracted by sweet images of something not meant for me. In every slow step and every setback, I want to live with less frustration and more acceptance.
When life comes to an end, I hope I’ll have seen the King who waited for me is the same King who traveled with me.
For today, I pray:
Wherever I landed, it was rarely where I wanted to be. There was always some place better. I couldn’t stand the wait, the slow process, and especially not the setbacks. I needed to remember the King is with me now. Life's not all about sweet things, but a sweet desire wrapped in God's love, fulfilled by God's life in us. God reminds me I don’t have to wait to enjoy Him. He gives access to life with Him in every step of our back and forth journeys. We were created for a future home. Because of God, we’re empowered to live in this one. He knew we’d long for what we can’t yet see. In this place, God asks us to trust what He foresees. He isn’t just waiting at the gates. He's with us here. Right here. He’s also preparing our place and fighting battles on our behalf.
Lord, help me see you with me where I am. When it’s hard and the process is slow, remind me I’m OK. When it’s exciting and then disappointing, reveal your goodness to me throughout. My heart feels both steady and unsure at times. Help me desire more of you and rest in what you give as I need it.