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Life is Not a Fairy Tale

God is not a fairy godmother with a magic wand waiting to wish our troubles away. He has plans and purposes far higher than fairy magic.

By Barbara Rainey

Cinderella. Everyone knows her story.

She’s the kind, pretty girl who lived in rags as a slave to her ugly stepmother and two stepsisters. On the night of the grand ball, Cinderella was cruelly prevented from attending by these two selfish stepsisters. Her heart was crushed in disappointment. She ran to the garden in tears to be alone, only to find to her amazement an old woman whom she had never seen before.

This gentle woman, Cinderella discovered, was her fairy godmother. With the wave of a wand and few magic words, Cinderella was transformed into a most beautiful princess. She was whisked off to a ball where she met Prince Charming. Of course, it was love at first sight and they lived happily ever after.

“Happily ever after” is the stuff of which fairy tales are made. Though we wish it were so at times, life is not a fairy tale. God is not a fairy godmother with a magic wand waiting to wish our troubles away. He has plans and purposes far higher than fairy magic.

The problem for me, and for other Christians as well, is the clash between two purposes and wills: God’s and mine. Often they are not the same.

I remember one big conflict between God’s will and plan and my own. But unlike Cinderella, I found no magic wand to wish away my troubles. Let’s go back in time and I’ll share the events of those significant days.

A scary moment

Tuesday morning, July 3, 1984, dawned clear and warm with the promise of another hot July afternoon. We proceeded with our normal routine of dressing and helping children dress, eating breakfast, looking for lost tennis shoes, and combing tangles out of chlorine-dried hair.

A couple of hours later I was driving home after having dropped the children off at their summer activities. Suddenly and without warning, I became extremely dizzy, almost blacking out.

I managed to pull into a parking space, though I could hardly see. I dropped my head on the steering wheel and prayed, “Lord, please let me get home.” I was only a block away. My vision cleared somewhat and I slowly drove home.

My next prayer as I parked the car was that Dennis, who was working at home when I left, would still be there. I made my way through the doorway, dropped my purse and keys on the kitchen floor, and fell on the bed, greatly relieved that my second prayer was answered. Dennis was home.

After a couple of quick phone calls, he helped me back to the car and we were hurriedly off, weaving through traffic, trying to find the quickest, shortest route to the hospital. I rode in the reclined passenger seat of our van.

My heart was racing at 200 to 300 beats per minute. My mind was racing, too. Who would the cardiologist be? How long would it last this time? It had been seven years since we’d discovered this congenital heart problem. Why was it happening again? Why now?

The big surprise

About three months before this traumatic Tuesday, I had discovered another plan God had for my life that was not my own. We were nearing the end of an unusually busy spring, one that also contained more than its share of pressure. We were looking forward to the end of May and longing for summer with a break in the action.

During those months, I was feeling particularly stretched with our children. We had five at the time. They were normal, active, curious children with five different personalities and five different sets of needs and problems. It was what I’d always wanted, and I was grateful to the Lord for each of these five treasures; still I was glad to be through with babies and pregnancies. I was looking forward to graduating from nursery duty.

The days were warming up and the flowers in our small garden began to branch out and bloom richly. I had planned to do some painting on our deck and wicker chairs before the real heat of the summer arrived. But after a visit to the doctor, suddenly my motivation was gone. I didn’t notice the flowers and the beautiful days. I was mentally preoccupied. I had learned God’s will for my life—another child. I was pregnant and completely caught off guard by the news.

Didn’t God know I had all I could handle with five? Didn’t He know I didn’t want to go through all this again? I was sick physically and drained mentally, and tired just thinking about six children.

Learning to trust God’s will

The next two months were hard ones for me. I prayed and I cried and I read Scripture—falling asleep in the middle of verses. Life was reduced to whatever took the least amount of effort.

I acknowledged at the very beginning my submission to God’s will for my life. I told Him I would obey and follow, but it took a long time for my feelings to catch up. On many days my feelings of discouragement and inadequacy would t