Sometimes we just get sidelined. Despite our best efforts…even in the case of the best planning…no matter how much we prepare…there are times when things don’t go as planned. That’s probably a kind, gentle way of putting it. It feels more like someone took our plans, shredded them, and stuffed a piñata with them. Now, we just want to take the stick and beat that piñata for all we are worth. But those are just my thoughts about it.
Sidelines occur without expectation and can throw us off balance. Examples…The car “check engine” light decides to not only shine…but decides to wink continuously…an alert to let you know that its life is on the edge of the abyss. An assignment you had forgotten about is now due…and you have to rework your entire day to make sure it gets done. A family member needs to go to the doctor and you are the only one that can take him…so you change your plans. A relationship that was going fine is now not going so fine…and the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. There are more days in the month than money in your bank account. You get the point…there are many different types of sidelines…they happen and they can whip us.
For me, the season of Lent reminds me of one great big sideline. Jesus is teaching and healing and guiding. He is showing people what it means to love. He is seeing people that have never been truly seen before. He is offering life…an abundant life that doesn’t equate to things but to valuables such as peace, joy, and hope. He is making a difference. But a series of events leads him down a different path. He begins a journey that will lead him to the cross. The 40 day trek I take at Lent reminds me that his journey was filled with heartache and disappointment, betrayal and torture. Yet, Jesus teaches me a lesson about being sidelined.
When his life pointed toward the cross…when his daily life and teachings were turned upside down…how did Jesus handle it? He kept his eyes focused on his calling and kept doing what he was sent to do. He did not allow those sidelines to distract him from his mission, from his purpose, from his love. Even when he knew that death was imminent, he stayed the course.
That teaches me that when life sidelines me…when things are thrown at me…when it seems that the problems of this life are the weight of a heavy wet blanket…smothering me and holding me down…I must stay the course, focus on the purpose, follow God, and never give up. Sidelines are not the finish line…they cannot change who I am or what I am called to do. They may hurt, they may cripple, they may frustrate…but they will not stop the path for which I have been called to travel.
So when you are sidelined…keep moving forward… The One that was sidelined for his love is the same One that will love us when we get sidelined.