Thankful for the Hand I've been Dealt
Yesterday morning I was listening to a ‘Daily Inspiration’ blog post based on this quote from Cheryl Strayed: “You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding and my dear one, you and I have been granted a mighty generous one.”
God has been whispering into my ear so much lately, I truly feel blessed by his hand on my life. I have just finished reading “The Journey of Souls” by Michael Newton. This is a very interesting book that has a lot of significant things to say about the reason for these lives we are living. One of the themes that ran though the book for me is the idea that we have the experiences we have in life for specific reasons. This is something I’ve spoken about before. I believe that God provides us with situations in life which will allow us the opportunity to learn, grow, and express ourselves in response to ‘the hand we are dealt’.
I choose to clasp Cheryl Strayed’s hand as she proclaims, “you and I have been granted a mighty generous hand.” Have I been granted a smooth, easy life? A life filled with riches, fame and recognition? No. Instead, I have been granted a hand filled with a perfect cast of supporting players. I have been dealt straights and flushes missing just that one key card that I have been granted the opportunity to discover for myself. Many times, the pursuit of those missing cards has been prompted by some very painful catalysts. I know that God hasn’t carelessly or maliciously dealt me these cards. How do I know?
I know without doubt that God is a being of perfect love and absolute power. A being of perfect love and absolute power does not pour suffering into the lives of his children to punish or torment us. Neither does God sit helplessly by while difficult challenges come into our lives. I don’t know how else to reconcile the realities of life – with all of it’s pain and apparent injustice - with the certainty of an all-powerful and all-loving God. The only thing that makes any sense to me is that God lovingly provides us with hellishly challenging opportunities. We would look at the challenges we face and say, “no, I can’t.” Even Jesus cried out to God and said, “I don’t think I can do this, but if you believe I can, then I will.”
This Thanksgiving Day I kneel alongside Jesus in that long-ago garden, and I reach out for Cheryl’s wisdom and I gather all of you close around me. I give thanks for all the difficult cards we have been given because I know that each one is an opportunity. The more difficult the challenge, the greater the opportunity to grow, learn and express the greatness God has placed inside us.
At this moment I am sitting with the cards I have been dealt fanned out in my hand. So many – including all of you – bring me abundant joy! Others bring agony-tinged contentment and acceptance because of the changes and development they have spurred. Still others bring recognition of opportunities not grasped. I’m choosing not to view those missed opportunities with regret. I think there is purpose even in the act of stepping aside from a challenge. God loves me perfectly and doesn’t expect me to rise to every trial.
On this day that Canada has set aside to recognize all we have to be grateful for, I am grateful! I am thankful for me, for my life, for each of you, and I give thanks for this wonderous hand I’ve been dealt - a hand I wouldn't have had the courage to request for myself.