I did not plan on making this my October post, but as John Lennon put it: life is what happens while you are making other plans. I wish I had known the truth found in this quote three years back or five years back or well, you get the idea. For the past three years, I have been making other plans while life threw me curve ball after curve ball and somehow this year I finally woke up to the dire situation I am in and I have absolutely no one to blame, but myself.
To say I have not had many opportunities to forge a good life for myself would be the truth, but to say that I have not had any opportunities to forge a good life for myself would be absolutely false. I seem to have the same taste in job opportunities that I have in men: if it is good and will treat me with the respect I deserve and offer me great rewards…then I tend to pass.
This past month, opportunity actually rang and it rang loud and clear, now that I have taken my cell phone off of the silence mode. To be clear, this was not just an opportunity; this was an opportunity in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. This opportunity was so good that it would have allowed me to live in my own one-bedroom apartment near the ocean in my preferred west coast city. So you can guess what I did with that opportunity, right? If you guessed played phone and email tag with an executive that I thought was a recruiter then you would be correct. The worse part is that while in a snot slinging moment of desperation, that executive called me back for the last time and I refused to answer the phone.
What can I say, this is not the first time I have had an amazing opportunity laid at my feet. And this is not the first time I have defiantly kicked that opportunity back to God. About a year ago, I had the chance to work for the Christian music arm of Sony in Nashville. At the time, I could not stomach not going to Los Angeles and I had no desire to go back to Nashville as I was looking for new pastures and not old ones. Looking back on that situation, yes I sort of sabotaged my chances, but in all honesty had I given a 100% in that interview, there is a giant chance I still would have walked away empty handed. The company needed someone to start the following week and while I could have told them I could make that happen, chances are they would have gone with someone in town and already available. Even with this knowledge, I still cannot dismiss the fact that I had been very defiant with that opportunity and now, here I am being defiant again.
The morning after I possibly deflated my own Hollywood dream, I thought about how I could have blown my nose, woken myself up and called that executive back. I did call him that day and I left a message knowing full well that it was already too late. That afternoon I decided to count up those “once in a life time” opportunities that I defiantly kicked back at God, which included the following: a major state college to the North, a major Airline to the South, the Nashville fiasco, a hospital here in town and last, but not least, the Hollywood dream.
In all honesty, I am dumbfounded by my audacity to tell God, “ no, not now, not like this”. Who am I to instruct God on how He is going to resurrect me? Who am I other than something God should smash at this point?
To say that I felt like I had crossed a line with God would be an understatement. So I did what many people do who feel they just might have gotten themselves on God’s last nerve and I found someone I was sure God liked a whole bunch, my congregational leader. In my e-request I asked for the elders to intercede for me since God might listen to them whereas I wasn’t so sure He’d listen to me. Two days later, I attended service for the first time in a couple of months. I’m not sure if part of that service was tailored just for me or if God was answering me through the service, but one thing is for sure: God loves us no matter what we do or what we don’t do. He may not be exactly happy with us due to some of our choices, but He never stops loving us.
God’s word says He is unfailing, always faithful and with us until the end, but does God really stick with us and work in spite of all we do to get in His way? Can we really expect Him to keep offering up once in a lifetime opportunities if we keep batting them away?
I actually sometimes wish for a Jonah-like life. Yes, I imagine it was horribly disgusting to be swallowed by a whale, but when he got regurgitated back to dry land and God asked him if he was ready to go to Nineveh, he sure didn’t have any hesitation in his voice, now did he?
Part of me wants to believe that God, in his infinite wisdom, knows that some of us need several opportunities to run across our path before we are ready to run with the right one, but how many opportunities does He lay at our feet before He finally turns His face and leaves us to the messes we have created for ourselves? And, if He does turn His face from us...how long before He turns His face back?
Since God did not leave Jonah in the whale, I am guessing He will not leave me in my predicament either. I don’t know if a viable opportunity will come in time to get me out of the horrible situation I am about to be in, but I do know He will bring another opportunity. To sum up the thirteen attributes of God found in Exodus 34:5-7: He is merciful, He is powerful, He is compassionate, He grants even undeserved blessings, He is slow to anger, He abounds in truth, mercy and loving kindness and He always keeps His word.