“If I have a hope, it’s that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as if to say, Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.
I’ve wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don’t want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgment. We don’t want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage. And if life isn’t remarkable, then we don’t have to do any of that; we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants.”
I read this last night and it jarred me. Maybe it’s because being the reader, the wanna-be writer, the head-in-the-clouds dreamer that I am, the idea of the story seems so beautiful, so poetic. Maybe it’s just reassuring when the world around is shaking and the oceans are swirling and I’m feeling small. Whatever the reason, it resonates. And I think it resonates because it’s true.
I’ve done life pretending there was no story, that I’m one of billions, that my days, my moments, my miniscule life doesn’t matter. It’s a hollow life -I tell you- one without much joy or meaning, because after all, it doesn’t matter. But it’s a life that’s seems easy to lead because really, I’m too busy planning birthday parties, scheduling doctor’s appointments and paying bills. To think that there’s a greater role to play is just too exhausting and maybe a bit too frightening. And even if there was a story, I’d just be a bit player anyway- one of those extras who get paid 20 bucks for 12 hours of filming just to walk across the street, in the backround, on a dark night. I’ll leave the star billing to the smarter, skinnier, richer, more powerful people of the world because if anyone has a story, it might be them, but certainly not me. At least this is what I tell myself.
But I’ve discovered something recently:
God doesn’t make bit players.
Time and time again across the pages of Scripture you see it- a man with a stutter who says ‘yes’ to God and ransoms millions of his people; a brave, young shepherd with a song in his heart who’s annointed king; a prostitute who takes a step of faith and God writes her into the lineage of Christ -people so easily dismissed by this world and yet they believed in a bigger story.
Every story has an author. And if it’s true that we are part of a grander story, then we need a writer- not just any writer, but one that can scan across the pages of time. We need an author with an overarching plan and purpose who can weave billions of people, personalities and passions into a plot.
Acts 17:26-27 says, “God began by making one person, and from him came all the different people who live everywhere in the world. [the cast!] God decided exactly when and where they must live. [the stage is set!] God wanted them to look for him and perhaps search all around for him and find him [the plot unfolds!], though he is not far from any of us: We live in him. We walk in him. We are in him.”
Psalm 139:1-10, 13-16 “Lord, you have examined me and know all about me. You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know my thoughts before I think them. You know where I go and where I lie down. You know thoroughly everything I do. Lord, even before I say a word, you already know it. You are all around me- in front and in back- and have put your hand on me. Your knowledge is amazing to me; it is more than I can understand.
Where can I go to get away from your Spirit? Where can I run from you? If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I lie down in the grave you are there. If I rise with the sun in the east and settle in the west beyond the sea, even there you would guide me. With your right hand you would hold me. ..
You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.”
The Author knows His characters, inside and out. He created them just so. But here’s the difference: these characters have choices, ones He doesn’t get to make. But ever true to the purpose, He continues to write. He weaves. The good and the bad. The triumphs and defeats. The blessings and consequences. The Master Author uses them all in the script. Though the characters have flaws, He weaves poetry. And every word points to Him because He’s the happy ending.
He wrote me in the story- me the infant; me the wife and mom; me the procrastinator, doughnut-lover, head-in-the-clouds dreamer.
But I get to pick the part I play.
That’s what free will is. I can choose to live like I’m not part of my story, this world’s story, His story. I can pretend that I’m writing my own life, every bit of it.
But when I look around, I know I haven’t written the smell of lilacs, the majesty of the ocean or my daughter’s fiery personality. He wrote those. He wrote me. He knows me like no one knows me. And as a pretty darn good author, He has a pretty darn good idea what my story can look like when I insert myself into the part He wrote for me. It’s a perfect part. Star status. No one else can play it like me. No one else can play it but me. So will I?
I guess I need to start reading my lines.