Jesus replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own autority." Acts 1:7
My wife and I have been watching the Apple+ TV show, Shrinking, lately (*spoilers* If you plan on watching, you might want to keep scrolling down!). In it, Brian, one of the main characters, has a mantra which he repeats often in a cheeky, light-hearted way, “Everything goes my way.”
“Everything goes my way” as a phrase is overly-optimistic and brash (yet somehow endearing coming from Brian!). But at the same time, it’s irritating, even for the other characters on the show. We learn that Jimmy, Brian’s best friend, avoids him for a whole year after his wife died, precisely because he can’t handle Brian’s positivity in the wake of his tragedy.
But later, we learn that Brian’s favorite mantra isn’t descriptive of his life; rather it’s prescriptive to help him cope. In one episode, he reflects that if it seems like everything goes his way, it’s only because he hasn’t taken risks that might leave him vulnerable.
It was a way of trying to control a world that can be frightening, dangerous and unpredictable. We all wish we could have a sense of control over the world, and the disciples were no different. In the reading on Sunday, we’ll see that they want to know what God knows for that very purpose. But Jesus responds that even though he’ll equip them for what’s to come, it’s not for them to know what is going to happen and when.
So much for everything goes my way!
There are some important lessons to be learned from what Jesus tells his disciples. We all wish we could see God’s plan laid out for us in black and white; written like directions in a manual, but God doesn’t work like that.
Everything won’t necessarily go our way. Even with the deepest of faith, God doesn’t guarantee any outcomes in life. Anything can happen and not everything that happens will be good. Among all the good, there will also be bad.
Though not everything will work out the way you might want or hope, we are given a promise: God will send the Spirit to walk with us and equip us to handle whatever might come. Together with the Holy Spirit, you have what it takes to face anything that the world throws at you.
Not everything goes our way, but at least we won’t have to handle it alone.