Letting the Light In

Have you ever heard someone pray what I call the “parking spot” prayer? You know the one - you are buzzing through a crowded parking lot and all the sudden your driver, passenger, friend, or family member blurts out, “dear Lord Jesus, help us find a parking spot!”. When I hear those words, my heart falls, in the same way that it does when I hear people talk about their “parking space anointing” or when I hear quips like “favor ain’t fair”. It just seems so first-world, so entitled, so out of touch with suffering.

In my anger over people claiming such small victories are from God alone, I have swung far to the other side of the spectrum, up to the point that I have doubted whether or not God has a plan for my life at all. Surely, the great Source of all only has time to deal with matters of grave importance - ending slavery, stopping wars, etc. There is no space for small interventions to help us with parking or help us find a new job or even meet a spouse? Surely, we just make choices based on our culture, biases, upbringing, and personal preferences, trying our best to move the world forward instead of backwards?

But that kind of thinking left a huge chunk of my heart feeling meaningless. Madeleine L’Engle says it better (as she usually does):

In an accidental and godless universe, where the human race on this particular planet in this particular galaxy appeared by happenstance, there would be very little hope. BUT, in a purposeful universe created by a caring, loving [God], there is a great hope that ultimately God’s purposes will be worked out in history.

I have no problem with the narrative of redemption - of a huge master plan for God’s purposes in the world, but I have struggled with the idea that God has a plan specifically for me.

And then I realized one more thing. God does not work out that masterful plan for the universe by intervening occasionally in our earth, healing someone here, stopping a war there, saving someone over there. No, God is using us. He is using us to restore the world, to slowly, methodically, and carefully make a new creation:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
— 2 Corinthians 5:17

I could very easily lose hope believing that God has a macro plan for creation, but no specific plan for me. I could say that there is no plan or care for where I live, what I do for a living, who my spouse is - those were choices I made, usually after carefully weighing all my options. But then there is this other element, this blazingly specific element  - I ended up in a house in an amazing neighborhood where I knew practically all my neighbors before I moved in. My business should not have succeeded, but it did, and I have my dream job. My spouse is my perfect complement, and we have grown together in ways I could have never predicted when I married him. I see through this that God is working out that macro plan for the universe by using a micro plan for my life.  And God is using these specifics of my life to lead me towards fullness, so I can be a light in ushering in a new creation.

I still do not believe that God provides good parking spaces so we do not have to walk as far or we can make our movie in time, but I do believe in a God who cares about us. I choose to believe in a purposeful God, in more than random.

This belief in purpose makes our hearts roll up gratitude to a masterful provider. So I am choosing to let the light in, and to see God rather than see random, and through that, to be a part of the building of a new creation.