The way I look at the world, there are two fundamental truths: God is sovereign, and he is our Father. Life is at once a story being told and relationship being acted out.
On the one hand, we are characters in an epic spanning from the moment we are born to the day they throw the dirt on our coffin. It goes beyond that, but those are the years we leave behind us, a parable for our friends and a legacy left to our children. That’s our story until the Lord comes and the graves are emptied.
Everything in that story was written by God, and written intentionally. He has a plan for each of us, a calling. This story arc may be about our family or our life’s work or some complex mixture of everything that makes us who we are. But whatever it’s about, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. No matter what, we are where we came from, we will endure what we must, and we will get where we’re going.
The flip side of the coin is that the Lord is our Father. We do truly have a relationship with him, and with his Son, our Savior. When we pray, we are talking to him. When we come to the communion table, we are sitting down to dinner with him. Our baptism is a promise he has given us, and a promise we return to him. Some days we are faithful, others we are not, and in the end it’s that faith that will determine what sort of relationship we have had with him.
These two things flow smoothly into one another. God is telling a story with our lives, and that story is a part of our relationship. We pray, and his answer, whether yes or no, is just that—an answer. Like any good storyteller, he brings certain themes and motifs to the forefront, and we’re called to pay attention.
Part of maturing in our relationship with God is learning how to read that story. Sometimes a character is recurring, and we ought to ask ourselves why. Sometimes a chapter we thought was closed is reopened. Sometimes the chapter we are in, the chapter we thought was coming to a grand finale, has a twist ending. Our hopes are dashed, our dreams postponed, and we are forced to ask “Why?”
Asking why is nothing new. Everyone does it, Christian or not. But for the Christian, we know there is an answer. God has a plan. He is doing something with our lives. If your past reaches forward unexpectedly, the Lord might be telling you that chapter was more important than you realized. If you are thwarted at every turn, it might be God saying “try harder,” but it could also be him saying “not yet.” We are called to learn the difference, and act on it.
Whatever the path of the story, we are all asked to do one thing: be faithful with it. Sometimes we are meant to be faithful with crucial, life-changing decisions. Most of the time we are called to be faithful with smaller, day-to-day stuff. In that there may be less glory, but that small stuff is what writers call “character development.” It shows who you are and foreshadows how you will play out your part. So, whether in big things or small, we are called to faithfulness.
And this is faith: trusting God with your story. When he calls you somewhere, go there. When he gives you an unexpected opportunity, take it. When he closes a door, ask yourself if there’s a window, or if you should be looking at the next house. But whatever you do, thank him for all the characters involved, every twist and turn in the plot, every scene and setting. And pray to him continually, asking for guidance. That’s the separates the heroes from the villains.
And with that, I leave you Kenny Rogers. God Bless.