“If God is sovereign, then He is in control of all the details of my life. If He is loving, then He is going to be shaping the details of my life for my good. If He is all-wise, then He’s not going to do everything I want because I don’t know what I need. If He is patient, then He is going to take time to do all this. When we put all these things together—God’s sovereignty, love, wisdom, and patience—we have a divine story." (posted by J. White, words of Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life.)
I've known He is composing a story - my story. The story has taken twists and turns I could never have imagined, or even thought God would want to compose. Some how when conflict and tension end up in my story, I want to erase and re-write things my way. Who wouldn't?
When prayers seem "unanswered" I forget that is the patience of God - that kind of patience that I owe my very life to. Suddenly though, the virtue of patience isn't something I want Him to offer. "Oh God, please be impatient and hurry and do what I want in this situation!"
I wanted God to be the Writer of my story, but there have been times I didn't think He was a good writer at all.
If I do not trust and believe God's love, His wisdom, patience and sovereignty in the story that He is composing in my life then I fall to cynicism -- maybe a quiet one, maybe not so quiet, sometimes a screaming kind, the heart wrenching kind . . . I begin to doubt that prayer really makes a difference, doubt that God really loves me because the conflicts and tensions in life hurt me; why would anyone who loves me want me to feel hurt?
And, "Well, if God is sovereign over all, controlling all things, what's the point? Why ask Him, why care. . ."
Don't tell me I'm the only one who has ever been there.
But if I am, that's fine too.
My actions and attitudes have said at times: "I wonder if I couldn't start writing the script now on my own, please?"
Oh, I know how I would have written it! No tension, no pain, no conflict, no bad hair days. Just the beach maybe?
(I hate to admit that sounds boring in a weird way.)
Maybe something like:
"There once was a girl named Alyssa. All things went perfect for her all the time. She felt no emotional pain or physical pain. She didn't even die. The end."
The feeling of rawness that I feel when disbelieving the Story Writer would write pain, out of love --
Sometimes it doesn't come over me like a wave, but gradually, slowly descends upon me when my story isn't "beautiful" and there are chapters that are way past the chapter page limit. I seem to beg, "Please, now, where is the eraser and where is the pen and can I take out pages, God? And can I write the story for my children different than mine and script it without conflict and without tension?"
"There once was my child, they were perfect, looked perfect and were all things talented. They were perfectly spiritually discipled their whole childhood as they did everything. They found the perfect mate and were protected from all things bad or hurtful. Or sinful. They asked my council on everything and always did it and thought, "Wow, my parents are perfect and awesome." They didn't suffer at the hands of others and were always a christian and I knew they were going to heaven. The end."
We may try to script their childhood, their lives, but God is actually the one who is writing their story too.
This dialog is an un-compromised portrait, exposing of the unbelief that attacks at times --
If I'm not careful there can just be this distance between God and me when things go bad. Not that I don't believe in Him as God. I do. But as Paul Miller put it in "A Praying Life" -- I live more like a "functional deist" -- then a loving daughter to her Father.
God's sovereignty and my responsibility run throughout God's Word and they do not conflict, they go together. I see both from Genesis through Revelation, never separating from each other - two great truths, both very definite as they can be. They only ever conflict in the mind of the depraved, natural man. Salvation, as well as living the daily christian walk, is the combination of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. He has called, works and saves, "He sows mercy" -- and I am called to ask for salvation, pursue Him and live for Him; what I sow that which I will reap.
As I learn to pray, to take my pain to the God of this whole world, I can and I will see His sovereignty in all that takes place. His love, wisdom and patience is for my good. My story, with all good and bad, tension or ease, each chapter. . . truly is divine, He is the Writer.
But I'm not a puppet.
The flip part is that in God's sovereignty there is John 16:24 which says, "Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. . ."
Because my God does write scripts, He does control, I CAN ASK! And He will listen and He will act.
Since I am His child I can ask for patience with the process and He will give it.
I can ask for a heart of forgiveness and He will grant it.
I can ask for understanding of the process and He will open my eyes.
I can ask for trust, and He will prove to me His faithfulness and trustworthiness.
I can ask for love and He will fill my heart with love for others and fill me with the knowing of His love for me.
I can ask when I am lacking and He will give to me what I need to get through.
I can ask for endurance and He will renew my strength like the eagle, renew my youth, and grant me that which is beyond anything I can muster on my own. Proving it is Him indwelling.
I can ask for acceptance of the chapters and parts of the script that I, in my humanness, do not comprehend, and He gives me that acceptance. . .
And hope. Even in His patient time, allowing me to not only accept but thank Him.
I believe in His sovereignty, His control. . . His incredible LOVING ability to write divine life stories, (and trust me I've got one that reads like fiction, but is so true.) all tension and conflict included.
I believe in my responsibility and AWESOME part in asking. To seek. To knock. To cry out. To look to, and to cling to. To believe more than just a functional deist! To relate. To walk with. To know more than just head knowledge. To know that salvation is not some zap from God, or I something I can't get a handle on. That I must ask and I must seek and I must desire.
He listens and He acts. He saves. He changes me.
The story is not over yet - thank goodness!
It is divine and He is sovereign, but He is our wise, patient, kind, compassionate, Father who listens and loves us dearly. He asks us to ask and He hears and in His loving sovereignty, He answers.
I had something happen to me when I was 20 that I had little to no control over. It was at the hands of someone who was a "christian." My husband put me in the situation that took place and did not protect me because he had been taught a wrong view of what it meant to honor his parents and asked, followed, and trusted their counsel over my cautions and requests. Controlling me. . . to my harm physically and emotionally. I was controlled because I did not know anyway around it at the time. I know, sounds twisted, but true and thus my script reads.
How could this be written as a part of my divine story by a Composer who loves me?
I cried in great agony when I walked through that hell, and times after, "WHERE WAS GOD!?!"
How could I dare to even mention that part of my story here? Why would I?
The sweat that begins all over me, the feeling of wanting to throw up, my chest feels tight. My head fills like it spins.
Breathing feels strange.
All this begins to start to happen at first, but then peace comes and surrounds me. I wait and then it rises up in me! I believe that what is not hidden or kept in denial God will bring great fruit from. . .
I want to declare and testify of the GOODNESS OF MY STORY WRITER!
I have fought long and hard. I've questioned. . . I've wanted to deny the script was written, never forgive the characters involved, re-write, doubt the Composer.
But He has never let go of me. He has declared to me His goodness and love to me through that particular horrible event, and anything painful one before or after, and it is a part of my story and it is there for my good. It is a part of my husband's script too, how God has used it to draw him closer to Himself and free him from false teachings.
For it is through the testimony, through the scripts of pain, the chapters that hurt. . .
That unfolds our hearts and make them moldable ~ Needy and ripe and real for the asking of God's presence and life to indwell and save us and make us whole!
It's through the parts of our story that we wish didn't happen that we come into the knowing of what Christ suffered. And that when something is done to us at the hands, words, or actions of others, that as a daughter of God, it is being done to Christ. We are sharing in His sufferings in a way that is deep, real and painful. When I asked Him why, He showed me how tenderly He loves me - that He and I could share in a way that is so much more deeply connected than being a functional deist. That through the suffering I can actually proclaim and understand that He is good, wise, and loving.
It's through the suffering that I get the tiniest taste of what He has done for me on the cross! I get it, I know and I rejoice in a way that I could not otherwise understand.
Oh, my adoration for my Script Writer this morning! Welling up inside of me and pouring forth with tears of joy and hope!
(My girls always look at me funny when I am sitting here typing and silently crying, yet smiling. Maybe one day they will read and understand their own stories better and be able to say with me, "Bless the Lord, Oh, my soul and ALL that is within me bless His holy name!")
I have no idea if anyone is reading now this far into my writing, or whether what pours from my heart this morning can be comprehended in a way that makes sense like it does to me and frees me - but if someone out there has made it this far , I believe it's for a purpose. . .
May the testimony of the goodness of God in His ever-loving script-writing bring you into His arms, and into His presence, and may you ask of Him because He listens and may you know and understand and share in the sufferings of Christ through your own suffering so that you may know Him fully and be used of Him for His glory.
Your story is beautiful, painful chapters and all, if it has drawn you into the presence of God and saved your from yourself and given you eternal life - Praise Him! He makes beautiful things out of dust. The resolve 2 worship is something we must ask for, our responsibility. You can know that HE will answer you as He gives you eyes to see what a wonderful and loving Script Writer He is.
P.S. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR7VOKQ0xJY -- Here is a good link to a song (though one of the most repetitive lyrics ever! But sometimes that's what I need!) that I just love, the kind if you can relate to a little of what I've written here, you need to just turn it up and stand up, arms lifted and worship. Let it the truth wash and heal.
On with my day. I feel the smallest hint of fall breeze in the air.