God’s Story Your Story
God doesn’t work impersonally from space; he works with us where we are, as he finds us. No matter what we do, whether good or bad, we continue to be a part of everything that God is doing. Nobody can drop out – there’s no place to drop out to. So we may as well get started and take our place in the story…. – Eugene Peterson, The Message, Introduction to Genesis
Imagine that I handed you chapter 37 from a spy novel that I’m reading. That’s it. Just chapter 37. You could read it, but how much sense would it make? Probably not much. You might be able to make sense of a few small things, but most of it wouldn’t make much sense at all. You wouldn’t have any context for it. But what if I put that chapter back into the whole book and then gave you the whole book to read? Suddenly chapter 37 would make sense because it’s been placed into the larger context of the story.
That’s how it is with your life and mine. Each of our lives is like a single chapter. And on their own our lives don’t always make sense. They take unexpected turns and lead us to places we never dreamed and sometimes never desired. Our plot lines include soaring joys and moments of deep pleasure, but they also include hardship, struggle, and sometimes even tragedy. And all of that can leave us wondering what it all means.
But God graciously takes our story and weaves it into the larger story of God’s love and work in the world. And when that happens suddenly some things begin to make more sense. Joy and pleasure point us to the goodness of God and become reasons for deep gratitude. Broken places in our stories find healing. Anxious seasons transition into a peace that passes all understanding. Things that seemed like endings suddenly become new beginnings. Meaningless moments are suddenly infused with deep meaning.
That’s what happens when we realize that our lives are chapters that belong in the much bigger story of God’s love and work in the world.
And that’s why I think it’s so vitally important for us to be fully engaged in this Holy Week, because this week more than any other reveals some of the most significant events in God’s story – Jesus’ Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, his crucifixion on Good Friday, and his resurrection on Easter morning. We’re invited to come and discover how the chapter of our lives are woven into the great story of God’s love revealed in Jesus. And in that great story we’ll discover the deeper meaning of our lives.
Blessed Holy Week!
Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN