One of the greatest lies we are tempted to believe is that we can write a better story than God. For ourselves. For our loved ones. For just about the whole world, really.
It can be innocent enough. We see someone we care about suffering and we immediately want to rewrite that chapter. Someone struggling financially and we wish for more disposable income to make life easier or better for them. A friend faces adversity and we yearn to smooth it out and remove the problems.
Sometimes it’s not so innocent though. Sometimes we want to rewrite someone else’s story because it doesn’t read like we think it should. Or because we feel like the paragraph they are currently in should be ours. Or we simply want to make someone do something the way we think it ought to be done.
The narrative begins in our heads and we produce rewrite after rewrite so that our own story, our own chapter and verse that we find ourselves living at the moment, makes more sense. Or we’re trying to rearrange our reality to what we think it ought to be.
It’s ridiculous though. To think that with our limited knowledge and foresight that we could possibly craft a better love story, a better adventure, or a better triumphant story than the One who authored the greatest love story of all time, penned the grandest adventure known to man, and accomplished the most miraculous triumph in the history of history, is in fact pretty ludicrous.
It’s like inserting our painfully pathetic middle school poetry in the midst of a Shakespearean sonnet. Or lifting a chapter from Moby Dick and dropping it into the middle of Pride and Prejudice.
Rob recently preached a sermon series on conflict that lasted several weeks. One of the Scriptures from really stood out to me, “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Galatians 6:3
Ouch! The reason we seek to change and control our story, and the stories of those around us, is because we think we are something when we are not. At it’s root, all of our rewrites and all of our attempts to script each other’s lives, is pride.
Here’s the thing. That verse is set right in the midst of several verses where Paul is telling us how to handle conflict and/or when someone is in sin. And I’ve shared before that we all need proofreaders in our lives. So it’s not like God has called us to some passive existence that just allows life to unfold and happen around us.
But we have to be careful not to impose our own plot into the story line. We are called to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. I think we fail to offer genuine consolation and sympathy when we are so busy looking for ways to make things right or better. And unfortunately we probably miss out on sharing in a lot of joyous paragraphs because we’re wielding our red correction pen with such vigor.
The verse in Galatians proceeding the one I quoted above says that we are to bear with one another and so fulfill the law of Christ. Sometimes we’re a little further up on the page than another, or sometimes in a completely different chapter altogether. Regardless we need to love the story we’re in.
Because the Author knows how it all comes together to tell a remarkable and timeless story that is for His glory and our good.