Beyond Happy Meals

A plate of fresh shrimp fettuccine pasta.

As a little bitty kid, I learned to sign the MacDonald’s arches so that every time we passed a MacDonald’s I would entreat whoever was with me to stop.

The little baggie of fries, the small cheeseburger or squiggly shaped chicken nuggets, the Sprite, and–you know what’s coming–the *SURPRISE TOY*–all in a yellow cardboard box of colorful activities and punch-outs and complete with an arched M handle.

A Happy Meal.

I could never have believed there was a meal more wonderful than a Happy Meal as a kid.

If you’d told me about shrimp fettuccine served with an engagement ring, I just wouldn’t have understood.  To me, the plastic toy was worth far more than jewelry or a wedding.

You know what, though?  If I go to MacDonald’s today and get a Happy Meal, it’s just not the same.  For one thing, I don’t have any use for the toys anymore.  For another, the little servings of food just don’t fit me.  If I want to have the same feeling about Happy Meals as I had as a kid I discover I just can’t.  I’ve outgrown them.

Sometimes we outgrow things in our spiritual walk, too.  What was thrilling to us as new Christians might be, well, childish to us as more mature Christians.  The Bible teaches that we should be growing up, and the kind of sustenance we need should be changing as we grow.  (See 1 Corinthians 3:2)

One of the biggest mistakes we can make as we mature is to expect the ways God blesses us and grows us to stay constant.  A Happy Meal wouldn’t have suited me the night my husband proposed to me.  In the same way, we have to learn to let go of how we expect God to work in our lives so that He can work to mature us however He wants to work.

Maybe you have a longing for the Happy Meals of the past, and you don’t understand why God hasn’t been working in that way in your life for a long time.  Maybe you question whether God really loves you, or maybe you simply wonder what He is doing. Could it be that God is working with you in a different way than in the past, for the purpose of maturing you?

One thing is for sure–as we mature, we should be surrendering more and more of our lives to God.  Rarely (if ever) does anyone in the first moments of salvation have full understanding of what surrender looks like throughout the life of a Christian. As we grow, God may expect us to trust Him with less vision (and more faith) for what He’s doing.  Look in the lives of Noah, Abraham, Job, Moses, Joseph, Esther, and many others and you see the lives of real strugglers who learned to trust God even when they could not see the full picture.

The hope we have as believers is that we know God isn’t leading us to something worse than what we had before, but something far better.  We don’t have to clutch the Happy Meal with fear that God will never give us anything so good again.  We can let go, knowing an exquisite shrimp fettuccine meal is in our future–and even better still to come.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9b, NLT)

 

 

 

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Published in: on May 31, 2014 at 8:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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