Have you ever picked up a book and started reading in the middle of any random chapter?
After falling behind in high school English class, I was forced to pick up in the middle of a book so that I could understand just enough for the upcoming quiz.
In hindsight, I can now see why I didn’t end up doing very well on that quiz.
I tried to understand a very large narrative within the span of just a few chapters.
In my attempt to do well on this quiz, I tried to grasp the essence of a story that the author intended to be understood over the course of several chapters read in order from beginning to end.
One chapter does not capture the essence of an entire narrative.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
In the same way, one chapter of our lives does not capture the essence of God’s bigger narrative, not only for our lives, but in all of creation.
God’s narrative goes so far above and beyond anything that we can comprehend, yet we so often try to squeeze it into just a few short chapters of our lives; attempting to understand everything through a very narrow perspective.
Just like an author, God has a storyline intended to be read entirely – in order from beginning to end. However, in our efforts to control our own existence, we tend to select a chapter of our lives and build it up to be our entire narrative.
This can be both good chapters and bad chapters.
Some people chalk up the essence of their being to what good they have done. The value of life is often summed up by professional success, relationships, reputation, social position, accumulation of things and experiences, etc.
In the eyes of the world, a lot of these things are good! We often look to those Instagram-worthy lifestyles and determine that their lives as a whole – their entire narrative – is one of success and achievement.
On the other hand, we also find that some lives succumb to the negative chapters.
Tragedy brings a progressive life to a screeching halt.
A mistake snuffs out any ambition for success.
A run of bad luck eliminates all hope.
This happens all the time as we take a small chapter of our lives and because it is all we can see or grasp with our finite minds, we believe that it is the essence of our story – failure, mistakes, and disappointment.
I’ve dealt with this many times as I often fault to the latter.
The whole concept of relationships and friendship is one saturated with disappointment and heartache for me. Many previous chapters of my life have had a lot of disappointment in this area and if I’m not careful, my heart will start to believe that this is the essence of my story – disappointment.
This is a dangerous cycle to get into, yet one that we are so easily susceptible to.
Yet, we have this hope.
We have this hope that there is a bigger narrative out there.
Not only is there more to the story, but the Author is inherently good.
I think all too often we lose the essence of that word – good.
Think about it – God is good. He is always good. He was good, He is good, and He will forever be good.
How comforting is it to know that the God who has already written our narrative is a good God? Our fear of losing control causes us to forget that He is good though, and therefore our trust in Him is crippled.
To the degree that fears have a place in our lives, we neither believe that God is good nor know deep in our hearts that He loves us. –William P. Young
When the fears take over, we latch onto the only things that we can see and feel, and often that’s the life chapter we are currently in.
For some it’s a good chapter and pride builds up in the heart.
For others it’s a bad chapter and future chapters suddenly turn bleak and hopeless.
However, in the midst of fear and uncertainty, if we could remember that there is a bigger narrative – a greater purpose – rather than holding onto the only things our limited minds can grasp, we will instead hold onto the unchanging promises of our good Author.
We will remember that in all things, He is good.
And with that hope, we will trek through the chapters knowing them for what they truly are – single chapters in a very large scheme.
Whatever chapter you are in right now – good or bad – remember that it is only a chapter. There is a lot of book left my friend.
There is a bigger narrative and the God of all goodness holds the pen.