thoughts on jail, monopoly, and the gospel.

when i was younger, i was an avid monopoly player.  granted, i was terrible–but we played all the time.  my favorite times to play were with my grandmothers’ family–all my cousins, and all her sisters (my great aunts) would put the leaf in the old oak table, spread the money out, and begin making wagers and deals, stabbing each other in the backs and sneakily purchasing more property to charge our relatives ridiculous amounts when they landed on our spaces.  when my aunt tillie and i made a profit, we’d always hide a little extra cash under the board, for when times got tough.

my favorite thing about monopoly–and this is going to sound crazy–is the time i spent in jail.  i mean, i may have been playing against the rules, but honestly, life was so much better when i had hotels and houses on property and landed on “go to jail.”  you get to sit in jail, for free, while people land on your spaces, accumulate rent, and best of all–you are saved from having to roll and land on their properties for at least two turns!  it’s a win-win, even if you do have to pay two hundred bucks to get out of jail.

today in class, we were talking about jail.  i’m not even sure the context, but at some point we came upon the discussion of the Lord sometimes liberating people from jail, and sometimes not.  which inevitably put us on the discussion of God’s sovereignty and his plan.

soren kiekegaard said that life has to be lived forward, but it’s understood backwards.  i’m finding that to be true in my own life.  so many things that seems like “jail”–so many difficulties, so many stresses, so many moments that seem way too difficult–when i look back on those, they are times of great growth and renewal and rejuvenation.  they are the keystone moments of my life that have defined and shaped who i am, and who the Lord has called me to be.

in the trials, in the hard moments, in the times where i just want to give up and i wonder where God is, to save the day, the times where my faith is really tested and really tried, and i’m really not sure if things are going to turn out well…i look back on those moments, and i see a God who is patient, and kind, and wise.  a God who is at work–even when i don’t see it and don’t feel it.  a God who is always there, whose lovingkindness never fails, and who doesn’t let me out of jail, not quite yet, because not only do i have something remarkable to learn from this circumstance, but because he will make sure the gospel is proclaimed through whatever situation i find myself in at this present time.  looking back, i’m thankful for the figurative moments of jail.  and for the liberation.  but mostly for the Savior, who makes himself known, and who is in control…even when it seems hopeless.

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