[This is an excerpt from an old blog of mine. I rediscovered it recently and was struck by its pertinence.]
February 2, 2010
Recently, I’ve been obsessed with people’s stories, or testimonies as we super-churched folk like to call them. Not the individual details per se, but the fact that they are all so different and unique. And more so the fact that everyone’s story is written by the same author.
I like to write. I’m not incredible, in fact, I haven’t written in so long I’m afraid I’ve lost the ability to. But when I was in my early teens, I spent most of my time either reading or writing. I read voluminous novels in a matter of hours and, in 3 years, had written 4 of my own. So, to some degree, I understand the process of creating characters and people from nothing, giving them personalities and quirks, making them flawed in a way that brings the story to a perfect finish. It takes so much creativity, so much thought, so much investment to create one story.
This is what has been making my head spin: so much effort, a million years of creative, thoughtful work was put into writing my story. God didn’t just hastily write up a synopsis and then breathe me into existence. He carefully drafted each page and each chapter, the prologue and epilogue. He made sure that there was just the right amount of pain and suffering – only what I could bear; and an overflowing abundance of joy. He carefully selected the supporting characters in my story – the ones who would be the inflicters of pain and the ones who would be instruments of healing; the ones who only lasted a couple of chapters and the ones who would be there from start to finish. He had a blast putting my personality together – a myriad of ridiculously complex traits that would bring color into the story. Then he sat back, perhaps by a fire, and read the whole story, crying, laughing, and rejoicing as he fell madly in love with this new creation of his. Thoroughly satisfied with his work, he put the finishing touches on the cover of the book – my very dark brown eyes and slender fingers, my big ears and tiny nose. Then he breathed me into existence.
That in itself is beautiful. But to realize that he spent that much time on every single one of our stories – on you and each member of your family and each friend and each significant other – that just blows me away. The fact that we’re all living out these individually beautiful and complex stories every single day, right next to each other, is amazing. It takes forever to write one story, and he used the best of his creative abilities in writing millenniums of stories. We are not a mass of humanity to him. We are his individually well-written, award-winning novels.
Realizing this about other people makes it hard to be judgmental. Because that situation they’re in today doesn’t define them. It’s not their whole story. Soon the page will turn and it will be another chapter bringing them closer to the ultimate completion.
Nothing happens that catches him by surprise. He already knew my whole story before I breathed. Fear and worry have no place because the author of my story is walking me through it. He doesn’t just leave me on my own to figure it out. That makes my head spin and my heart race.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;” Jeremiah 1:5