One of my favorite board games is Candyland.
I think I love it because it’s just so simple. When I was younger and my family tried to get me to play games like Monopoly, I would just run into the other room and hide. Way too much thinking. But Candyland is a piece of cake – just pick the cards and move your person along the brightly-colored squares to get to Candy Castle for the win.
As a little girl, before my brothers or parents sat down to play with me, I used to set Candyland up and then strategically place the Queen Frostine card at the top so that when it was my turn, I would pick that card and get to move my person to the top of the board. The reason I did that was because it was a way to skip to the end of the game faster and be the winner.
Talk about scandal. I clearly had no soul.
The only problem was that sometimes my plan would backfire if I drew a Mr. Mint or Mr. Plumpy card and then have to go all the way back to the beginning of the board and start over. Cue the level 10 emotions.
Candyland is Like Life
I recently had the opportunity to lead a chapel at our school where I spoke on the topic of gratitude using the game Candyland for an object lesson. As I talked about the differences between drawing a Queen Frostine card versus a Mr. Plumpy card, I related this to the various cards we are dealt in our day-to-day lives.
Some days have Queen Frostine moments where we are dealt circumstances that are favorable. For example, beautiful weather, our birthday, a special trip, a good grade, a yummy treat, favorite meal, or visit with a friend.
But some days we have Mr. Plumpy moments where we are dealt circumstances that are difficult, painful, and challenging. This could be an illness, relationship issue, financial hardship, when mom says no to that toy at Target (horrors!), someone is unkind, or other trial. These challenges can feel like we are being sent back to the beginning of the board of life, kicked out of the hope and happiness of finally ‘making it’ to the magical happy ending.
The trick is in embracing the instruction behind 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. It is here that Paul encourages us to –
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus.
When we are dealt a Queen Frostine card in life, we naturally respond with joy because our circumstances are good. But the Mr. Plumpy circumstances are the places where we get to exercise our faith in Jesus.
We can give thanks in ALL circumstances – even the Mr. Plumpy ones – because we have hope in Jesus Christ.
This hope is rooted in an understanding that whatever happens to us is because God has allowed it. And God is good. Because of this, we can trust that no matter what comes our way, it is for our good and His glory.
Plus, unlike King Candy, the King of Kings is accessible at all times, not just the end of the game. That is why we are encouraged to pray continually. We get to enjoy a relationship with God when we’re having a Queen Frostine moment in life or when we’re in the middle of a Mr. Plumpy moment.
And here is the beauty of how the Lord works – every Mr. Plumpy card I have been dealt in life, God has transformed it into a Queen Frostine. I can honestly say that the hardest and most difficult circumstances I have faced, have ended up being the ones that I treasure the most because they forced me to trust the Lord, draw close to Him, and look for His provisions in the struggle. This is where the joy comes. As we trust Him to be faithful to take the bad and make it good, we will be able to view and receive every circumstance with peace and joy.
Just a little encouragement for your heart today! Are you in a Queen Frostine season or Mr. Plumpy season right now? I would love to pray for you as you are challenged to give thanks no matter what happens.