Have you had an uh-oh moment lately? You know that lump that wasn't there before; your employer announces layoffs and you get a note to see the boss; out of the blue your spouse says, "This marriage is over, I want out;" you suddenly realize that no one has called you just to talk in months, you've been opted out.
Although we try desperately to avoid them, these are the moments that change the future. They push us beyond our resources. We feel trapped and alone and fearful. Life is rattled and the future seems ripped from the heart. Profound uh-oh's change us forever.
So when an unexpected uh-oh slaps you in the face, you can step into it, or run from it ... the future depends on you.
Job, the icon of suffering, experienced the ultimate collection of uh-oh's and finally, through it all, made a discovery that opened his eyes and reshaped his future.
After all the questions, Job says, "I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in the dust and ashes to show my repentance" (Job 42:5-6 NLT).
Like Job, your life struggles are not about you; they are the resources God provides for your future. They are God's fingerprints that help others see the God they have only heard about.
During our first 20 years of life, God packs our backpack with the experiences and memories we will need for the crisis times ahead. These moments shape our perspective of life and give our faith the opportunity to grow deep and strong.
Nika Maples was in the seventh grade when she was diagnosed with systemic lupus. The prognosis for this vivacious aspiring TV journalist was a life filled with difficulty and unending medical treatments. "I cried," Nika said. "Then I decided that I would live, really live, until I died."
At age 20, Nika suffered a massive stroke. She couldn't speak. She couldn't blink. She couldn't swallow. She couldn't move. But she could hear. She heard the doctors say she would be a quadriplegic, if she lived at all.
Through all the noise and empty words that filled the next few hours, Nika remembers most her mother's, "This is bigger than you. Don't give up."
"I wanted to quit," Maples recalls. "But my life is not only about me. It is bigger than that."
Her recovery and re-learning everything from talking to laughing, to walking, amazed everyone. God made it so. "In the prison of my own body, I know my life is worth living, even if I can't live it on my own terms," Nika proclaims.
When she first started teaching, she faced the challenge of motivating an outcast youngster who refused to learn. He always sat alone and wore the same shirt everyday.
Near the end of the year, that little boy gave her a going-away gift. He couldn't buy anything, but he found something just right.
He gave her five white moths.
"I was trying to think what I could get you." He explained, "I didn't have any money. Then it hit me. Her legs don't work too good. I want to give her wings."
God has packed Nika's backpack with power and hope. What's he packed for you?
Uh-oh's force us to open our backpacks. In the process they provide us with opportunities to see God. The choice is all yours. You can chose to run from it and stay in your prison, or you can chose to step into it and live beyond your limits.
Do you really want to see the God you have heard about?
It's time to find your wings. Look for them this week.