I’ve always loved writing. I enjoy manipulating words and sentences until their rhythm and lyrics really sing. Finding that verbal sweet spot.
Words are not all I tweak. In fiction I get to arrange the events of characters’ lives to suit my own ends, fulfill my own purposes. It feels good to play God.
The Bible describes Jesus as “the author and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:1-3). Growing up, I was just fine with that. The Author had written me a pretty good part. Happy childhood. Comfortable life. Christian college. Wonderful husband. Brand new baby boy. Yep, a pretty good part.
Then one night the page turned. Evil slammed into my life. Ugly, murderous, unjust evil. My husband was hit head-on by a drunk driver and killed instantly.
Widowhood. Single parenting. Uncertain future.
I no longer liked the part the Author had written for me.
But I had known the Author–or, at least, I thought I had–too long to bow out of His book just yet. Hurt and confused, I wrestled with Him, argued with Him, demanded to know His reasons. One minute I was Job (see Job 38:1-7) and the next I was Jacob (Genesis 32). And eventually I got answers like theirs.
Job was reminded that this world is only big enough for one Creator, and Job was not he.
Jacob got a new name and a limp. . . and the mysterious affirmation that he had somehow won.
I believe I won, too. I won not by overpowering the Author, but by being held nose-to-nose with Him. While I threw my tantrum and cried out in fear and grief, He comforted me. Then, lovingly and firmly, my author Father placed me back in my high chair and made me listen. He reminded me that the One in charge of the storyline is the One who sent His only Son to die on a ugly, murderous, unjust cross. All to forgive the sins of ugly, murderous, unjust people, like me.
Slowly I realized that the hand moving the pen across my page bears scars. The Author Himself knows pain. He is not reckless or sadistic. If He writes pain into the plot it is the means to reach His perfect denouement.
Now the question was, would I keep following Him even through the pain He wrote into my story?
Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian pastor during Communism’s reign, wrote of two men who defected from their faith in Christ. Pondering why they did, he noted that “Daianu and Ghinda praised Christ for the gifts He gives us—peace, love, salvation. A real disciple does not seek gifts but Christ Himself, and so is ready for self-sacrifice to the end. They were not followers of Jesus, but customers; when the Communists opened a shop next door with goods at lower prices, they took their business there.”
They were not followers of Jesus, but customers.
I needed to stop being a customer. I won my wrestling match because I discovered that what I wanted most of all was to follow Jesus. Not to stand at the customer service counter whining for His gifts.
It’s not the happy ending I’m pursuing, it’s the Author.
Have you, like me, ever caught yourself being Christ’s “customer”
–seeking what He offers instead of seeking Him?
What might happen if you followed Him regardless of the story He writes for you?