Have you ever had one of those moments where in the midst of everything going on around you, you are hit by the thought ‘it doesn’t get better than this’?
Perhaps in a perfect day of sunshine, friends, summer tunes and laughter. Or maybe during an evening with family, childr
A moment where everything felt exactly as it should.
A minute of perfection
I had one of these when I was visiting home over the summer. I was on holidays and without a worry or care in the world. I went for a jog through quiet bushland and as I neared the halfway point, I popped out of the trees to a panorama of mountains surrounding the valley I was in. Full of endorphins and buoyed by the magnificence of the view in front of me, I felt like I’d just crossed a marathon finish line. In fact, I could almost definitely hear a triumphant chariots-of-fire-esque soundtrack begin.
Of course, as I turned back and headed home I was tired, out of breath and in more than a bit of pain. But for a minute or two, life was perfect!
Just like a movie, or not?
We all have these magical moments in life that are ‘just like a movie’ (to quote Adele), but sadly, for the most part reality isn’t a whole lot like films would have us believe.
Movies are created to satisfy us. The meeting of the cute, the magical reconciliation, the funny side of mental illness, the life changing makeover, the triumph of good over evil and of course the happily ever after. These tropes show life as we want it to be.
I get it, we don’t go to the cinema in the hope that we’ll get to watch something ugly or uncomfortable! Untidy houses, awkward (and not in a cute way) first dates, unresolved conflict, the loss of a lifelong friend . . . these are rarely shown on the big screen.
Yet these are the things that make up real life! And whether the messiness of the day to day is overwhelming or slight, no one is immune from the realities of an imperfect world.
The messiness factor
When I think about the Bible, I rarely think of perfection. The Bible is full of people who had messy lives and it’s certainly full of stories where the outcome is, by normal standards, less than gratifying.
David, the giant killer king, weaved a tangled web of sin and cover ups. Moses struggled with his identity as an adopted son, killed a man, began a new life in a foreign land and struggled with the call God gave him. Sarah became tired of waiting and put in motion her own plans to fulfil God’s promise to her, creating soap opera worthy family drama. Job’s initially perfect life saw tragedy after tragedy, as his wealth, children, standing and health were taken away.
No clichés here
Ruth didn’t bump into Boaz at her local coffee shop, she had to obey the strange instructions of her mother-in-law to creep into the bottom of his bed unseen. Joshua didn’t get to rally his army, make glorious inspiring speeches and conquer Jericho through strategy and might. Jesus’ twelve disciples didn’t march into the world and find great fame and triumph, instead all but one were brutally killed for their faith.
Living with imperfection
God tells us many times that life won’t be all sunshine and roses. But he also promises that in the midst of the messiness and confusion, he is still God and he is still good.
Romans chapter 8 verse 28 tells us that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
In John chapter 16 he says, ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’
Psalm 121 says that our help comes from the Lord. The God who made the heavens and the earth!
God’s promises remain
We see the outworking of these promises in the stories I mentioned above. David was a sinner, but was also called a man after God’s own heart. Sarah wanted to take control, but still saw God’s promises to her fulfilled and became the mother of many nations. Job lost everything, but saw his prosperity restored by God. Joshua didn’t take the usual steps of a military leader, yet his obedience saw him succeed in battle.
I love the call to ‘take heart!’. No matter how busy or messy life gets, God’s presence can be (and should be) an unchanging fixture. He is in every situation, if only we would take the time to notice him. In the storms, in the mundane, and even in the “it doesn’t get better than this!” moments, let the peace of God’s promises prevail.
Anna hails from Australia but lives and works in South East Asia. She enjoys travel, good coffee and getting to hang out with awesome people from around the world.