“God is still writing your story. Quit trying to steal the pen.” TobyMac #speaklife
I LOVE to read, when I have the time. A couple of weeks ago, I read four books in a week, just for fun. I just love a good story, especially a mystery. My family was highly amused at me, because the last book I read was a real page-turner, and upon reading the last sentence, I loudly declared, “That was a HORRIBLE book!!” My daughter said, “Mom, I thought you said it was a great book!” Well, yeah, I did. It was a great book. It was extremely well-written, so much so that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, wondering what was going to happen next. The author was masterful in the twists and turns. But it was the twists and turns that also made it horrible. it was filled with tons of sad, scary, negative events thrown upon the main character. It was like a roller coaster! So it was a great book. But horrible. A great, horrible book.
When it comes to books, I have complete control over them. If I don’t like what I read---I can just skip it. Leave out the middle parts: the messy, sad, difficult, twisty parts. I could skip right ahead to the happy ending and save myself the torture. Sounds simple, right? But the problem is, if I do that, I’ve missed a major part of the story. See, every event that happens to the character, both good and bad, comes together to create the ending. What happens in the end is a direct result of everything that happened in between. So I need to read every page, relishing the good parts and enduring the really tough parts, or else the ending won’t be impactful, or even make sense. And that’s why I hang in there through every word and ride the roller coaster with the character: to see the story come to a satisfying conclusion.
It turns out, I love for my fiction books to be full of mystery, suspense, and surprises, but when it comes to my life, I want it to be predictable, dependable, and positive, with a clear happy ending. I love to read about the suspenseful twists and turns in a fictional character’s story, but would I want to endure those scary cliffhangers myself?? No way! I would like a huge book full of smooth-sailing, please.
But you and I both know, life just doesn’t go that way. Why? Well, first of all, because we live in a fallen world. We don’t get the luxury of living out the perfect story line. It’s just not how the Prologue was written, thanks to the sneaky snake. Second of all, I’m not the author of my own story, and thank the Lord I’m not! Without a doubt, I would try to pen my chapters full of good news, blessings, rainbows and happiness, without even a hint of grey. But honestly, what kind of a person would I turn out to be if that was the case? As much as I hate to admit it, all those adages about how tough times build character are right. Every event in my life, good and bad, come together to create---me. God allows things to happen in my life in order to change me, teach me, and prepare me for what is to come.
In the book New Morning Mercies, Paul David Tripp states it perfectly:
Thankfully I am not the author of my own personal story. Your story isn’t an autobiography either. Your story is a biography of wisdom and grace written by another. Every turn he writes into your story is right. Every twist of the plot is for the best. Every new character or unexpected event is a tool of his grace. Each new chapter advances his purpose.
So yes, the pain is real when I must endure a traumatic event, and it would be easy to resent that it even happened. But change is never easy, growing pains really do hurt, and we must be broken to be re-made. I don’t welcome the pain, but I am beginning to understand that it is all part of the process to make me who I am. It’s part of my story. That thought allows for a little bit of peace and comfort, no matter what chapter I’m in. I am at the beautiful mercy of the Divine Author, who loves me so much that He wrote a perfect ending for me. I just have to have enough faith to keep turning the pages.