Last summer I invested in a touch screen cell phone that made viewing the internet on my phone significantly faster to navigate, not to mention the internet looked much better than on my previous smart phone. I knew that with a touch screen, I would be giving up the ability to text as quickly, but it wasn’t so bad when I turned my phone “landscape” instead of its normal “portrait.” However, about two months ago, my phone stopped automatically turning “landscape” when I turned it sideways. I supposed that some internal sensor was somehow malfunctioning and then made a mental note to stop by the Sprint store next time I was near one. It was a major inconvenience at first, as texting was significantly easier when the letters were bigger as they were when it was turned sideways, but eventually I just got used to it being different. I accommodated pretty quickly to the inconvenience and soon forgot that my phone was even broken. I would remember every now and then, especially when I wanted to view a picture or video, as the viewing size was about half as big in the standard viewing position. But most of the time, I…managed.
I finally made it into the Sprint store and prepared myself for the wait while they fixed the mystery problem. I was just taking a look at the Samsung Tablet, when the tech came up to me and told me that it was fixed. All they had to do was turn the auto-rotate setting back on in the Settings menu, as somehow, I must have inadvertently turned it off. So, for the last two months, while I had been too busy to go to a store, and then too forgetful to ask anyone else who might know more about phones, and then too accustomed to it not working like it should, the solution to the problem was only three clicks on my phone screen.
Isn’t this how things often are for us? The simplest solution is usually the correct one (like when your computer won’t turn on, plug it in and let it charge—it’s probably just a dead battery). I was prepared for them to open up my phone and replace “the internal sensor” (I’m assuming that there is such a thing?!). But, that would have been both a waste of time and supplies AND more than what needed to be done (and it wouldn’t have fixed the problem, anyway). But isn’t this what we do sometimes? We are experiencing a difficulty so we say that God’s leading us in a different direction, when sometimes it’s not that complicated…we just need to be patient or learn the lesson that we experience when we encounter challenges. We dream up all of these explanations like God is probably calling us to do something else, or giving us a test, but the answer may just be that we need to be patient, or faithful to what we know at this point, or simply, to love others.
And even if we do remember that the simplest answer might be the correct one, sometimes we never quite get around to trying out that simple answer. Instead, we get used to limping along in life. We have a vague recollection every now and then that something isn’t quite like it should be, or like we’d like it to be, or like we know that God wants it to be in our life. Instead, we’ve figured out how to just get along and maybe even learned some good lessons about perseverance in the meantime. But, the reality is that we often allow stuff to get in the way of living a life of abundance that Jesus talks about! Sometimes that “stuff” is busyness, sometimes fear, sometimes it is doubt or insecurity, but sometimes it is just that we’ve become so acclimated to our concessions in life. We see glimpses of a desire that God has placed in our lives, but we know that doing something different will “rock the boat.” The “merry-go-round” is in motion and slowing it down to do something different could result in us being able to do something else that is more in keeping with what God is calling us to do, or, it could result in some scraped knees, or worse—some broken bones! But oh, when we jump…when we give up our grasp on safety, or predictability, or even preference, we open ourselves up to God showing us new ways to trust, new levels of spiritual maturity, and even new gifts to explore. May we have the courage to break out of our ruts and live the abundant life to which God has called us. May we know that sometimes it’s best to not know how things are going to end, and may we trust God to be there no matter what the end result is.