What is weighing on my heart this morning is the idea – the fact – that sometimes (Usually? Always?) we think we know what is best for our lives. Not only do we think we know what is best, we think we know how we’re going to get to what we think is best. But I’m learning more and more every day that if I am praying for God’s will for my life, and striving to follow that, it does no good whatsoever to try and figure out the plan. The more I think I have it figured out, the more clueless I discover myself to be. And that’s awesome! Yeah, it takes me out of my comfort zone in major ways. I mean, major. But God’s plan is always better than my plan. Every single time.
Three things that have already been written keep coming to mind today, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel with the Day 16 blog post. I’ll just quote the three things that seem to be speaking my heart today. The first is Isaiah 30:21:
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
The second is the song “Unpredictable” by Francesca Battistelli. I tell ya’…I’ve liked Francesca for a long time, but here lately she is nothing short of the soundtrack of my heart.
Can’t wrap my mind around You; can’t put You in a box; can’t keep You safely contained, no. You’re gonna move the way. You wanna move today. Just let me follow along. When I know that I know what You have down the road, when I’m sure that I’ve figured You out, help me see that I’m small, that I can’t know it all, ’cause You’re so unpredictable.
God is teaching me every day that things which I thought were the ultimate goal are actually just means to the end He has in mind. Just like Ethan telling me that he thought maybe God made me want to be a writer so that I would have the courage to quit my job, full of the belief that being a full-time author was the ultimate ending. Nah. That was just means to an end, wasn’t it? And the funny, awesome, amazing (and somewhat terrifying) thing is, I still don’t know what end God has in mind. But every day, whether I turn to the right or to the left, I’m hearing a voice saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
There once was a girl who was sickly and poor throughout her entire childhood. She had no one and nothing, except for the ability to sing beautiful songs which possessed healing powers, a gift from her mother. Her father, however, possessed only evil powers and he cursed her with the inability to ever sing these songs of healing and restoration in the presence of others. He wanted her melodies to be only for his benefit. When her parents died, she was left alone, with only a song. Night after night, day after day, she lay in her bed, shivering from the cold and nearly starving to death, singing with all her might. The song was her only friend and her only warmth. The song was the only thing in her life of value.
One day a local trader passed by and heard the song from afar. “Who is that, singing with the voice of an angel?” he asked. “Why, it’s no one, sir,” the townspeople said. “It is but only a sickly girl with a song in her heart.” “Lead me to her,” he pleaded, but the townspeople refused, insisting she would not survive the visit.
Another day, a jester from the court of the king passed by and heard the song from afar. “Who is that, singing with the voice of a majestic harp?” he asked. “Why, it’s no one, sir,” the townspeople said. “It is but only a sickly girl with a song in her heart.” “Lead me to her,” he begged, “and I will take her before the king.” But the townspeople refused, insisting she would not survive the journey to the palace.
Still another day, the prince himself passed by and heard the song from afar. “Who is that, singing with the voice of my own heart’s desire?” he asked. “Why, it’s no one, your majesty,” the townspeople said. “It is but only a sickly girl with a song in her heart.” “Lead me to her,” the prince commanded, “and I will take her as my wife.” The townspeople, of course, could not refuse the prince, but as they approached the girl’s hut, the singing stopped.
“She’s dead,” the townspeople cried, full of despair and disbelief that all of their efforts had been for nothing, and they would never again hear the songs which they’d always believed would heal her. That evening, as the townspeople mourned, they heard a melody from afar, and it was more beautiful than any they had ever heard. Even in their sadness, they could not deny its power and they ran to it. Much to their dismay, it came from the hut of the girl, but it didn’t stop when they entered. The voice – more beautiful than that of an angel, more majestic than a harp, more than even a prince could ever know to desire – belonged to a beautiful woman they didn’t recognize, and yet they felt they knew.
They had deprived her of adventure and fame and wealth, and even marrying a prince, but not to be cruel and not to keep her gift for themselves. They had known that the song was the means to an end, and they never gave up hope that it would one day heal her and allow her to be who she was meant to be – even if no prince ever took note. Neither the gift of her mother nor the curse of her father could compare to the power of a village who loved her and not just her song.