When Life Goes Unscripted

In my Bible study class at King’s Grant we are taking a fresh look at the life of Mary. Not a very manly thing to do but the life lessons are very relevant. The first session looked at the topic of “unexpected,” which was certainly what happened to Mary when the angel visited her. The question for each of us is, “How do you respond when unexpected things in life happen to you?” The choices can be as few as two: do you respond in faith or in fear? What’s your story? Loss of a job, marital strife, rebellious kids, health concerns, failure of some kind, home foreclosure, victim of a crime?


Now, think about your favorite reality TV show. What do you like best about it? Why are these shows so popular? Answers will obviously vary, but for the most part, we like these shows because they are unpredictable. I read a story about a stage actress who realized no one was watching her perform; their attention was drawn to a cat that wondered onto the stage. Why was the cat suddenly the star of the show? Because no one knew what the cat would do next!


Mary had her plans in life; marriage to Joseph, raise a family, influence the community, be a part of the best carpentry shop in Nazareth, who knows? She had her life all scripted out. What happens when we lose the script of our own lives? What are your feelings when life goes unscripted?


Take an index card and write out the major events in your life so far: marriage, kids, graduation, career, maybe even some crisis you had to face. Look at your list. Did everything turn out just life you had planned? How did you deal with the surprises? How often did things turn out better than what you had planned?


Turn the card over and write out your plans for the next ten years: marriage, children, graduation, a promotion, a new house, retirement? This is act two of your life. When God intervenes, life becomes unscripted. We are moving along at His pace and in His direction rather than our own.


What did this unscripted life mean for Mary? She faced divorce, shame, public humiliation, reputation. Nothing was going according to her plans. What did Mary do? She worshiped.


Margaret Feinberg writes, “When we make God the center of our lives, we can’t help but worship, no matter what the circumstance. When we don’t worship, we tend to worry. Worship or worry – which do you choose when you’re in a tough situation?”


But how can you worship when life is falling apart around you? Margaret says, “Worship is about proclaiming that God is worth more than you. As long as you are able to script your own life, you really don’t need to worship. You are trusting that certain events will give your life meaning. But when those things get taken away … you are forced to acknowledge that God is calling the shots.”


Hang in there. God does not promise an easy life, but a guided one! Turn your act two over to God. Verses of encouragement are Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 6:33 and Philippians 4:6.

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