Missing the bull’s eye

By: Lucell Larawan

Everyone has a story to tell about not getting what he or she wants. A businessman lays down a 100-page plan only to be played down by new technology. Even Jack Ma, China’s richest man and founder of Alibaba, was rejected in his previous applications for a job as a policeman, a McDonald’s crew and as a student of Harvard, among others. We all miss the mark, sometimes.

When frustration comes, the best admonition is this: “I have learned to turn disappointments into His appoints.” Just bearing with the circumstances because it is God’s will is not our only option. We should not resign ourselves to them and stop moving on, which is what the apostle Paul advised: “…and having done all to stand (Ephesians 6: 13)”. It means continuous action on our part. It means that if a big rock blocks the road, it is not the dead-end; rather, it means God is changing our direction and there is always an open road.

What wrong could a boy have done to deserve a serious mistake? He was deeply interested in photography so he carefully saved money to buy a book. But when he ordered the photography book, the publisher mistakenly sent him a book on ventriloquism—one he did not understand nor interested in. He could not send back the order because he could not pay the postage. He could have thrown the book away and wallowed in despair. However, he began to read the book– how Edgar Bergen made a stellar career.

If it was just the publisher’s mistake, Bergen could not make sense of it. He can answer the question many would ask: “Is disappointment His appointment?”

Victor Hugo was exiled to the island of Guernsey for twenty years. It was, nevertheless, through that exile that he wrote his best work—Les Miserables, one of the greatest novels. Where does happenstance end and God’s providence begins? Who can discern?

But we should not only expect one route for all failures. Not all prisons produce a legend. Not all walks in the valley of the shadow of death lead to the peep-o-day. This happened to Saint Paul. Going to Spain was his plan; nevertheless, he ended up in a Roman jail where execution and death awaited him. It is hard to believe that Saint Paul’s prison was God’s appointment.

Many scholars, however, believe that the power of the apostle’s epistles written inside the prison cannot be as potent if done in comfortable Spain. He wrote: “Now, I want you to understand, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel (Philippians 1:12).”

Christians should understand that they are also partakers of the cross. Suffering and disappointment are part of the package, contrary to what prosperity preachers emphasize.

But the cross does not just portray what we need to endure; it also means bliss. Without the cross, there would be no Savior. There would be no need to plant the corruptible seed and expect God to raise it in glory.

In our prisons, let us work to make it the beginning of something. I am declaring this to myself.