Life is funny.
I’m sure that’s not what everyone would say. I’m quite sure there are other ways people would describe life—everything from “life stinks” to “life is a bowl of cherries.” But, for me, life is funny. I don’t necessarily mean humorous, hysterical, or comical. I mean odd, quirky, unusual, and even sometimes strange. We have good times and bad times. We have highs and lows. There are times when we can predict exactly how things will go. Then there times when our predictions couldn’t be farther from reality. We have seasons of life that run the gamut of joyful, doubtful, fun, challenging, relaxing, stressful, painful, chaotic, smooth sailing, and so much more.
Like I said, life is funny.
I watched a movie recently called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel about a group of British retirees who head to India to take up residence in what they believe to be a newly renovated luxury resort. Needless to say, it is far from luxury. It’s nothing like they thought it would be. The movie then chronicles their lives in India with this “curve ball” that has been thrown at them.
At one point, one of the retirees in the film named Evelyn (played by Judi Dench) declared, “Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected.” Another retiree named Muriel (played by Maggie Smith) then responded, “Most things don’t. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff.” These two lines echoed in my mind for the rest of the movie.
“Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected.” Isn’t that the truth? That’s why life is funny. Just when you think you have it figured out, and feel like you can predict what’s next, God throws you a curve ball. And when things aren’t quite like we expect, it can throw us for a loop. Sometimes we laugh at unexpected occurrences, but then again sometimes we cry. When our expectations aren’t met by our friends, family, employers, coworkers, church, or even God, it can be a tough thing to embrace. When hopes and plans and anticipations go unmet, what arises afterwards can be times of pain, discouragement, and frustration.
“Most things don’t. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff.” I love this. Sometimes God’s curve balls can end up being far better for us than we expected. If we maintain a flexible, humble, and adventurous spirit about us, the things that happen in spite of our expectations can indeed be the “good stuff.” Sometimes the curve ball brings with it new life experiences— a blessed encounter with a perfect stranger, a much-needed lesson learned, a God-given grace that needed to slap us in the face. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Life is funny. But here’s the thing we have to remember: “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail” (Proverbs 19:21, NLT). We can plan, and even hope and dream. We can build all sorts of expectations around these plans, hopes, and dreams. But God’s purpose (not ours) wins out in the end. His will (not ours) stands firm. His curve ball–whether we like it or not–is sovereign.
When God’s curve ball comes, will we embrace His unexpected purposes for our lives or will we resent them?
Life is funny…but it’s also short. Don’t miss out on the “good stuff.”