A Life Well Penned

Life.

It is a story in the making.

How and by whom our story is written makes all the difference in the world.

Often, we believe we can write our own, unhindered by the counsel of others or the wisdom of God.  That is always to our detriment.

Or, as we compose our narrative, the intersection of lives causes our own to be edited; at times for the better and for our joy, at other times, to our loss, and, sometimes, both.  But our hearts are always shaped by those with whom we share the page during our lifetime.

For the follower of Christ, we know it is God who is the “Author and Perfecter of our faith,” but also the Author and Perfecter of our stories.  For some the ‘plot’ is more erratic as He seeks to woo and restore scratches on the page.  In other cases, it may be more direct with less editing necessary; but always, each one, in need of the Redeemer.

One thing we who are in Christ can be sure of is that, even if there are edits to our pages that come our way unexpectedly, they never take our Father by surprise.  And He intricately weaves the joy and the pain together, sometimes restoring what has been lost and sometimes gently prying our fingers from it, for a beautiful tapestry.  It is an illustration of exquisiteness, from disorder to delight.

It is as if the scribbles of a child on a page become elaborate calligraphy – extravagant beauty and clarity to our hearts – as He causes “all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) regardless of the outcome. It is the promise for those who are His own.

As God writes our stories, there are times He does so in ways we pause to wonder why the “plot” would take this turn. But, because He is our all knowing, all loving God, we know He is working in us and preparing us for the rest of the chapters. Some surprises are comfortable; some are not. But every “word” comes from the palm of His hand; that same palm that demonstrated the greatest love, sacrificial as it was. And He will weave every circumstance for His glory and for a greater joy and good in our lives than we can even anticipate!

I love lyrics to music; they often verbalize my life story or my response to it.  Several songs draw me back to the reality of God’s ultimate, perfect control even when my life or the lives of those I love are seemingly not being written the way I would have authored them.

“The God of Every Story” by Laura Story is one of those.  He is, indeed, the God of every one of our stories and can be trusted to complete the good work He began in each of His children (Philippians 1:6).

Ultimately, I know that whether or not I always “love” the way my book is being completed, I am thankful that the One who knows me best and has already seen the end of my novel is the One who is preparing my current chapters and the ones ahead of me!

He’s the God of every story; He sees each tear that falls. 

We may not understand but one thing is certain. 

He is faithful, He’s a faithful God.

His ways are higher than we could ever comprehend.

When our world is shaking, He holds us in the palm of His hand…

You’re the God of every story no matter what I’m going through.

I may not understand, but You are God and I am just a man…

I’m forever trusting in Your plan. 

One thing is certain;

You are faithful, You’re faithful God!

(Laura Story)

Delight and Desires

Longings.  Sometimes the intensity of them brings tears and great anxiety.  We long for their fulfillment, but most of all, we long for rest.

A hunger for relationship or the restoration of a broken one.  A desire to see physical healing.  A deep yearning to be parents or, as parents, to get past or at least hold on and thrive in the “grunge” moments; or at our deepest longing, to see our children “walking in the truth.”

Or it could be for a situation to be more comfortable, a new job, a different home, a move.

Sometimes our longings are for things temporal and sometimes for things eternal; but each bring their own angst until we lay them down before our God Who sees.  He is not unaware of them; He knows us better than we know ourselves so we can honestly pour them out before the One who so loves us and takes vast joy in fulfilling our desires according to His good will for His glory and our best!

Psalm 37:4 reminds us, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  So often I have heard and myself been tempted to shape that as a “gimme” promise – that if I will delight in the Lord, follow Him well, “do” for Him, and give Him great praise then He will meet my every need according to MY wishes!

Oh, even writing that makes my heart cringe because, in that line of thinking, I am demanding that God do what I ask and fulfill every desire of my heart regardless of His will or the consequences.  I am implying, in a sense, that my wisdom exceeds His.

As I look back on my life, how thankful I am that He withheld many of the then “desires of my heart” for a greater outcome I had not yet known!  His protection and His greater good for and deeper knowledge of me than I have of myself has time and again proven to be my true satisfaction!

Often we miss the nugget of truth within that verse.  For, if we truly delight ourselves in the Lord, we and our desires will be changed.  If we are growing in our knowledge and love for the Lord Jesus Christ, we will have His grace and peace and our greatest joy will be His desires for us.

No doubt there are times we humble ourselves before the Lord, we lay our requests before Him, and He says, “Yes, I will answer just as you ask; I will give you that desire exactly as you requested right now!”  At times, His answer may be almost identical to our longing; while, at other times, He fulfills it in a different way than we imagined and answers with a “Yes, but better!” or a “Wait, my child.”  But there is also that moment, as we grow in our enjoyment of Him, that He changes us and causes our wants to match His.  Indeed, there we find that our delight and our desires are one with His and we stand amazed at how He has given us His heart and brought us to rest in that!

And, yet there are situations that  require a submitted heart in the midst of circumstances that will never make sense this side of heaven.  We will have questions that are not answered and issues  that may remain burdensome.  It is at those times that we cry out for the Lord to give us a trusting heart in spite of what we see, feel, and experience.

Sometimes we will relax and never again strive for that which we once held so dear, but then there are other times we will have to lay it on the altar again and again, even daily, as a sacrifice of praise and allow Him to bring that peace that comes from delighting in His desires and timing for us.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2