I recently stumbled upon this comic strip from beloved cartoonist Charles Schulz and can only conclude that Charlie Brown and I are kindred spirits. On the cruise ship of life, sometimes I’m still struggling to open my dratted chair. Forget the lovely view or the leisurely pace of life at sea. While everyone else seems peacefully resting, I’m tugging and gripping and fighting to unfold a place to plop.
It is in this struggle that I am oft reminded of the verse from Psalm 32:8:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go,
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
God does not throw out counsel haphazardly, nor does He give direction without knowing my position at all times. Not only does He know the final destination, but He knows my starting point and all of the obstacles, roadblocks, and detours along the way. He also knows how stubborn my heart can be in following His directives. Why? Because He sees me in every step of the journey.
Never are we beyond the sight of our heavenly Father. No matter how our circumstances may tempt us to believe otherwise.
Like a loving and patient parent, God is there, remaining vigilant in His watch. Never slumbering, never ceasing in His continual care over us. Stooping to draw us close with compassion when we stumble over our own feet. Rising to lift us up, again and again. Gently staying flailing hands struggling so hard to do things our own way when His way remains open and clear.
Too often I can be like Charlie Brown when I’m faced with any number of life’s scenarios — I can’t even get the dratted chair unfolded! I twist and tug and squirm and pull in every direction except the right one. Exerting all my energy and determination to conquer a task that has grown in mammoth proportion by my insistence on doing things “my way,” I fail to notice the one way to easily accomplish the goal before me. Too impatient to listen to wise counsel, I grit my teeth and fight against the instruction from above until I finally persuade myself I will never be able to open the chair and enjoy the view. No matter how many times I try.
I choose to live as one deceived, convinced I have somehow been overlooked. Unnoticed. Unseen. Uninvited. Everyone else can sit and soak up sun’s rays on the cruise ship of life, but I may as well confine myself below decks and curl up on the hard floor. It’s obvious I don’t belong with the rest of the folks who have things all together.
Whether succumbing to a pity party or continuing to fight and wrestle to unfold my chair, I’m basically just giving in to spiritual amnesia. Forgetting the One who sees me wherever I am. Neglecting to turn and ask for counsel from the One who knows all things and is willing to patiently instruct me, even though I’m so unwilling to listen.
All it really takes to unfold the deck chair of life is learning the secret of pulling in a particular direction. A direction always leaning toward the Father-heart of God.
If you find yourself in a position somewhat like Charlie Brown’s, I encourage you to join me in remembering the truth that you are really not the only one struggling to find your place. You’re not the only one who feels alone and on the fringes of a life that is passing you by. You’re not alone in this mess of humanity futilely grasping for a respite.
You’re. Not. Alone.
You are watched over by a God who sees you where you are. A loving Father who offers His counsel with clear vision for every step before you. A wise Daddy who knows all you really need to do is follow His instructions to unfold your chair and rest in His presence.
Will you heed His voice and trust His counsel for you today?
Can you ever relate to Charlie Brown, struggling to even begin something that others seem to have already accomplished? Are you tempted to overexert yourself in trying to keep up, or are you more likely to give up altogether? Contrary to how it may seem at times, you are not overlooked. You are noticed and you are loved by a Creator who knows you well. God has the wisdom you need for any given situation, and He is willing to share that counsel while keeping an ever-vigilant eye upon you and your surroundings. What will it take for you to begin to trust Him with your circumstances? What areas may you need to address and be willing to change in order for Father to help you unfold your chair and enjoy the view of His presence more fully today?