I love to share the story of me and my husband’s very first Valentine’s Day as a couple. When Don and I were first dating, country music was a big part of who we were. We’d spend time in the car singing our hearts out to Rascal Flatts or dancing in the park to My Maria by Brooks & Dunn. Just thinking about those days make my heart happy. So, on our first Valentine’s Day, I was giddy at the thought of surprising him with tickets to the Brooks & Dunn Red Dirt Road Concert and the memories we’d have of the evening together.
When the day of the concert finally arrived, we were both so excited. Not once did we consider where our seats might be. But when we got there and the usher stopped at the steep staircase directing, “All the way up,” I looked up and realized the limitations of my checkbook. The only seats I could afford were a trek up to the second to last row of the stadium. I felt bad, my special gift felt minimized and not so special anymore. However, Don was encouraging and joyful. Just happy to be with me.
So as we sat there chatting and snacking, watching and waiting for the stadium to fill up, we noticed a young man coming up the stairs. He was looking at us. He finally reached us, and sat down on the stairs next to Don. He breathlessly exclaimed, “Boy, we are quite a ways up, aren’t we?!” We both smiled and engaged in conversation about the nosebleed section we now found ourselves at home in. The man then paused and looked at us. He introduced himself as a local country music radio announcer and said, “How would you two like to go from the worst seats in the house to the best seats in the house?” He immediately handed us two front row, center tickets! Seriously, one of the coolest moments. The promise of what awaited us was more than we could contain. We were giddy, joyful, exuberant and expectant.
This story, for me, runs parallel with God’s promises.
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:20-21
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…” Isaiah 55:8a, 9
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy sage pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desire of your heart.” Psalm 37: 3-4
“He gives strength to the weary and increases power to the weak.” Isaiah 40:29
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
These are just a few of the many promises made to us by God. You might be feeling disappointment, frustration, loss, brokenness, hurt, sadness or anger. But God promises He has a plan for good. His ways are not our ways. He cares for you. He will give you the desire of your heart. His strength increases our power. He will fight for you. He will create a path. Believing in his promises IS the ticket to that front row seat. When we believe and begin to live by his promises and precepts the world around us changes. When our heart knows these promises are true, we are giddy, joyful, exuberant, expectant and hopeful, even in times of great sorrow, pain and loss.
Here’s the kicker…everyone has a ticket! He’s offering it to everyone, not just me and not just that lady over there. YOU get one, too. You may not have planned to be where you are and maybe you’ve made yourself comfortable there, but what if someone said, “How would you like to go from the worst seats in the house, to the best seats in the house?” Jesus, that’s your ticket.
Father, my gratefulness for your promises overflow. You have surely taken me from the worst seat in the house to the best seat in the house. Even when I didn’t deserve it. Lord, I pray today that anyone reading this feels your love for them deeply and is convicted to pick up a Bible, reach out to a friend, or make plans to attend church on Sunday. Whatever they do, may it bring them closer to you. More accepting of your love, mercy and grace.