written by Stacy-Ann Smith
Republished from Press Service International
Ever feel like God has a flair for the dramatic? Ever feel as if His methods of responding to prayers and teaching of lessons have more twists and turns than a Alfred Hitchcock movie? You trust Him of course but sometimes you wonder why His idea of on time is usually the last possible moment.
“But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” Matthew 17:27
That was Jesus’ plan to handle an issue with the disciples need to pay taxes, in order to not cause offense. I read that and felt that Jesus was being dramatic. Why couldn’t He just give Peter a coin; just pull one out of His cloak and hand it to him? Both would have been miraculous so why not? Jesus was full of gut wrenching, teeth biting, heart palpating methods.
We often feel that way with our own lives. We know God can do great miracles and that there are much shorter ways to the end goal, so what’s up with the long way? I feel like I would have looked at Jesus as he grabbed my sinking self while walking on the lake (like Peter I would have been frightened by the waves) and say “No disrespect Jesus but isn’t there a less theatrical way to do this?”
How many times have I wanted understanding, provision or protection and I go to Him about it and I get my own version of the fishing expedition. I think of my third year in college when I had my school fees to pay. I knew this year was tight for my parents and the scholarship hadn’t come through, so I prayed.
I prayed the first week when early registration started and I signed up for classes. I prayed during regular registration as I sat in my lecture hall like a stowaway on a ship, hoping that God had something in store. I prayed as I filed hall residents’ eviction notice for students who had not yet paid their fees and noticed my name in the stack.
It felt like that edge of the seat suspense part of a movie. You know the hero is supposed to come soon, but the villain is distracting him, or he is taking forever to find the girl and you are willing him to hurry and catch the damsel before she faces an imminent and terrible death (forgive my archaic hero-save-the-girl reference, I have probably been single too long).
You know it’s just a movie but you are ecstatic when the hero comes bounding over the obstacles, defeating the villain, saving the girl and restoring peace to the city, and all the wait and suspense becomes worth it. The victory is that much sweeter and the outcome even more epic.
Unequivocal dramatic form
Like my true hero, in unequivocal dramatic form my fees were paid. But on the very LAST possible day. The day they flush your classes from the system, call you out in class to go to the front office, and get ready to send you home. Yes on that day is when He sent an anonymous payment of my fees.
He always comes through. He does provide, bless, heal, restore. And as much as I wish He would do so early, and spare me the biting of my fingers, I recognise that that way provides less chance for my faith to grow, which is the point of this whole thing. It is also reassuring to know that I am not the only one living through this movie theater experience.
Even James, the brother of Jesus and en elder in the church had to send out a comforting message to other Christians like me. He says in Chapter 1: 2 (Living Bible):
Is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So, let it grow and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.
I like a full length movie with twists and turns and edge of the seat suspense. Who wants to go to a movie where the answer is obvious and it ends in no time? Well, welcome to the movie of our lives being played out on earth’s big screen.
In the same way I know in the back of my mind that the star will not die, and good will win out, I carry around in the back of my mind that God is at work behind the scenes, regardless of how desperate my situation looks, or how the world looks or how the future looks.
The Award-winning Director is at work – theatrics and all.