Wednesday, June 8, 2016

God's Never-Ending Story

Finding Our Way in God's Story.


Good storytelling is an art -- but it is also a formula.

Typically, a good story begins with a character (or situation) that is generally likable and/or relatable so that the reader gets drawn in and engaged. Then, once you are hooked, things start to go wrong. Bad things happen. Obstacles appear. Challenges must be met and situations often occur that are tragic and may seem hopeless. The main character often undergoes some kind of trial-by-fire that will either make or break him. One way or the other, that character will change -- for better, or for worse.  And as the tension builds, we begin to long for a satisfying (if not happy) ending.

The artful story is not only written in books but is also written in our hearts. 

God put it there. And whether you know it or not, YOU are a big part of His amazing story. Zoom out with me for a moment and consider where you are in His incredible story.

It is not uncommon in our entitled minds to feel like we deserve to be at the beginning of the story -- still in the Garden (metaphorically) where struggles and pain are not God's will for us. They simply exist as a fact of life with no apparent purpose except to be avoided and overcome with enough faith and optimism. But Scripture tells us differently.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 
(Romans 5:3-4)

The truth is that we live in the MIDDLE of the story...

We're in the part where we get to learn and persevere and strive for spiritual maturity -- which often develops in the midst of our struggles. Good character and strong faith do not come automatically. But if we seek to know and love Jesus, He has promised to make Himself known to us, and make us more like Him.

Now that we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. And his Spirit tells us that God is our Father.  (Galatians 4:6)

 The renewal of our minds occurs over time as we make a thousand little intentional choices, over-and-over again. It's a lot like learning to play the piano. You have to run scales before you can play music. But the pay-off is something quite grand: You will eventually play beautiful music -- and it will come easily because of the effort you front-loaded it with.

What an amazing (and eternal) ENDING is in store for us!

Even though we are currently in the hard part of the plot where bad things often happen in order to prepare us for eternity (heaven and the New Earth), we can have confidence that everything will finally be put right. And this time, there will be no serpent to mess it up and no bad choices by flawed human beings.

This time we will have the best of all possible worlds because we will already have the knowledge of good and evil. We won't even be tempted to choose evil because we've already been there and done that. We will indeed finally get our happy ending in perfect harmony with the One who made us and loves us. Home at last. I can't wait.

 "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Come, Lord Jesus, come. (Revelation 22:20)

I have a song for  everything:
"Write Your Story" by Francesca Battistelli
"Stay and wait" by Hillsong UNITED
"Even So Come" by Kristen Stanfil

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