I think the game “Life” has set me up for unrealistic expectations.
First, you start out with a neat little pile of money. Everyone gets the same amount. Then you have the choice of going to college or starting a career right off the bat. All you have to do is choose which path to set your little plastic car on. And whether you go to college or not, once it’s time to pick your career, you simply have to fan out the cards and choose. There is no card for “perpetually unemployed.” Every player gets a job!
Now you’re on the road. Everybody gets married. There’s no way to miss that spot on the board, since the red stop sign is there to insure that you land there, no matter what number you spin. Just pull a little blue (or pink) peg out of the box and stick him in the seat beside you. It’s that easy! Nobody plays the whole game single. And you can search the rest of the board all you want, but you’ll not find a “divorce” space anywhere. Not even a “legal separation” or “unhappy marriage.”
Babies? Well, I have pulled over at Millionaire Estates with no little pink and blue pegs in the back seat of the car, but it’s exceedingly rare. And if you search the board again, you won’t find a space for “miscarriage,” “stillbirth” or “infertility.”
There are some other things you won’t find on that Life board, not even if you pull out a magnifying glass: “Laid off.” “Teen in crisis.” “Foreclosure.” “Brain tumor.”
Obviously, it’s a game. It wouldn’t be any fun with all those added spaces, so I’m not going to call Milton Bradley and suggest any changes. But I do think I tend to go through life expecting things to fit some predictable pattern, a bit like those multi-colored pathways on that game board. And when things don’t go the way I think they’re supposed to go, I might feel cheated. Like my little plastic car has toppled over and all the passenger pegs have fallen out. Heck, sometimes I’ve felt as if my car’s fallen clear off the game table and been kicked under the sofa where I (the clueless little pink peg) have nothing to do but pet the dust bunnies.
Here’s the thing. I can’t trust life because there is no safe, guaranteed, predictable pattern. I have to quit acting like a clueless little pink peg because that’s not what I am. I am a unique creation, designed by a loving, merciful, wise, powerful, personal God. He cares even more than I do what path I take. He might throw in some spaces that aren’t as entertaining as those Milton Bradley came up with. But that’s because He expects more out of my life than I could ever imagine. He expects more out of me than to fit into a little plastic hole and coast along a little cardboard pathway ’til I die.
I don’t know what His expectations and plans are. I’m slowly learning to let go of the need to know. But I do know that I don’t have to trust life, because I know the Life Giver, and I know I can trust Him completely.