Get Out of the Way
In my twenties, my husband and I had the opportunity to meet the Pope. Though I was not Catholic, I was nonetheless excited because though we’d been stationed in Italy, we’d not yet made it to Rome. We, along with others from the Catholic and Protestant military chapels in Italy, were given special passes that provided us a front-row seat. On the bus, as we traveled to Rome, we were showing our cameras to each other and agreed that we’d each take pictures of the other as they shook hands and share all the pictures we took with each other.
The day was a gloriously sunny, humidity-free, late Spring day. Though it was hot in the sun, we were honored to have our front row seat in the crowd of thousands. As the Pope completed his address, we felt the crush of people crowding forward to meet him. He extended his hand beyond the front row, but soon turned to us, greeting each of us individually. Just as we’d promised, we each began positioning to take pictures of the other, but we were nearly in combat. We weren’t the only ones taking pictures. A group of men surrounded the Pope at every turn, taking pictures of him with the crowd. They just wouldn’t get out of the way. We each took a few pictures, but not the photos that we’d all dreamed. We ate a late lunch and got back on the bus for the three-hour trip. Though we’d enjoyed the day, we were all really bummed because those men had gotten in our way, and our plan for picture taking and sharing was gone.
Several weeks later, my husband and each of the other military members received an 8 X 10 envelope, and inside, were beautiful, glossy pictures of our moment with the Pope. Those men who pushed us aside for photos with the Pope were Vatican photographers, and these had been sent to each of us, straight from the Vatican! We were so focused on how we were going to get pictures of each other for our keepsakes that it never dawned on us that the photographers were working for the Vatican. Our plan failed, but we got better pictures that day than any of us would ever have been able to take.
We have laughed over and over about that day, but isn’t that the way our Christian lives go? So much of the time we have our plans, and we are focused on making it happen. Out of the blue, life happens and disrupts our plans. Though it doesn’t seem like it at the time, God is in the middle of it, working His plan for us and our very best. Just like those pictures came out of the blue, God’s plan and purpose are revealed if we remain open to how He directs our life. Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” When we get out of the way, God directs our lives, giving us a future and a hope. God’s way is always the very best way!