Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Engagements, Rewards, and God's Plan

Some of you may have noticed that I didn't post a blog last week, and for that, I am sorry. 

It was a pretty busy, rad week. 

I had to squish all of my weekly responsibilities in to Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday because on Wednesday, I drove to Disneyland with my beautiful girlfriend and her incredible parents.

Well I guess I should say my beautiful fiancee and incredible in-laws-to-be.

With that information provided, it can be said that last week was an excellent, exciting, amazing, nerve-wracking, life changing week.

The proposal ended up being nothing like I had planned it, which, I suppose, is the story of my life.

I had this incredible plan to furtively carry the ring all day in the park until the late night fireworks show, drop to one knee romantically, perform this beautifully rehearsed speech, open up the ring box as the last explosions of the fireworks finale are erupting in the sky above, the bright colorful lights glistening off of the flawless diamonds of the hidden engagement ring as I look longingly in to her beautiful green eyes, shimmering with tears of joy and love.

Ya, it didn't go down like that.

And I'm so glad! The actual proposal was much more original and personal than the cliche scene written above.

When my plans were scattered to the four winds, I began to panic. The plan I had been meticulously formulating in my head for weeks had vanished like a pudding cup in a kindergarten classroom. 

I was up the creek, and I had left my paddle on Splash Mountain.

We went back to the hotel room that the four of us were sharing, my mind racing with the words of my brother, the wise sage, Danny.

"You might just have to [suck it up] and do it." and that was exactly what was going to go down.

I look at Haylee and say "Hey we should talk. Want to go on a walk?"

She nodded and we went down stairs through the lobby and walked out of the hotel front. She could tell I was nervous. My hands were clammy, my heart was pounding, my voice stammering, my face, stoic.

"What's on your mind?" she asked me. To be completely honest, there are no words to describe what was on my mind. The convoluted collaboration of my cognitive chaos was cluttering the required conversational clarity to properly construct coordinated chords to communicate what was on my mind.

So there we stood. 

In the parking lot of the Sheraton Fairplex hotel, surrounded by trees and grass, the only light, a street lamp humming twelve feet above. As I talked and pathetically tried to voice my feelings, I fiddled with the silver ring she had worn everyday since she was twelve. It was not uncommon for me to spin the ring on her finger or play with it or sometimes take it off, but this time would be different. 

As I explained my thoughts and my feelings for her, I slipped her ring in to my pocket and pulled out a new ring for her to wear.

My heart pounded in my chest, and my hands shook. I took the ring and slipped it on to her finger as I continued to talk. She looked down at her hand, expecting to see her silver ring, but she paused and looked at her hand for a moment. I took her hand in mine, dropped to one knee, and asked her if she would be my wife. I was only kneeling for a second before she very strongly said YES! 

And that's how I became a fiance.

Even now as I type this, my heart is pounding, and I can't stop smiling in recollection of last Thursday. God has worked so powerfully and so obviously as of late, and I want to turn all eyes and credit to He who created love, Haylee, the universe, and everything visible and invisible.

God is good everyday, and He is ever abundant in love and truth.

I am so grateful for His omnipotence in every situation. When our plans go awry, He winks and says "Watch this" and we are blown away by how God is in control of everything all the time. 

Every situation, every moment, God is active and in control. All things were created by God to bring God glory. Everything.

As a diagnosed control freak, this is stressful sometimes. I hate the idea of being trapped in the unknown and not having control of a situation because it makes me feel vulnerable and helpless.

But God loves our vulnerability. He works in our hearts and takes advantage of the situation to show how great and perfect He is, and how He is everything we need.
Have you ever ridden Disneyland's Jungle Cruise? It's one of the classics. You get in to a boat with a witty jungle tour guide and traverse the rivers of the world  while avoiding cannibals, tigers, rampaging hippos, and bad jokes. It's a great time and one of my favorites after a long day of stroller dodging and merrymaking.

But the line...

When you first get in line, you can see the boats and the people in front of you boarding their vessel of jungle fun, so you know that your time is coming soon. What you don't see are the four hundred other people waiting in line above you in the mile long roped off path. As you follow the rope, it leads you right beside the water so you can almost touch it, then up a flight of stairs, in to a room where you zig zag four times, out of the room, back in to the same room again, a zig, another zag, out on to a thin bridge, down a flight of stairs, put your right hand in, put your right hand out, shake it all about, zig zag another room until you find yourself in the exact same spot you were in an hour earlier except this time, you get to ride a boat and see hippos.


But that's just how Disneyland is! Anyone who has ever enjoyed the Matterhorn Bobsleds or Splash Mountain know that diligence and faithfulness and staying on the right path is the way to your reward at the end of the line.

I totally just saw your light bulbs flicker on. 

I couldn't help but see this microcosm as an amazing metaphor. The Apostle Paul compares life to a race, full of discipline, endurance, and traversing the track to the finish line. Like any race, it requires preparation, training in discipline, and pushing yourself all the way to the end, having faith that the God we serve is giving us the strength and resources we need to perform at the top of our game. 

We serve a God who self sufficient and everlasting, needing nothing. He sustains Himself and is perfect at all times. His plans and judgement is perfect. 

When we lean and rely on our perfect creator and trust His plan for our lives, we find ourselves joyfully surprised at the outcome. 

It's funny how our plans are never as good as the plans of the omnipotent, all knowing, creator of the universe and master of all things.

Again, sorry for the late post. I've got to get to small group. 

Nate T B