Sloane, who just turned five, is learning to read. She’s getting better at her sight words, and stories fascinate her.
She’s got an incredible memory. After she’s been read a book a few times, she can pretend she’s reading it out loud, without missing a word.
Her mind grasps the fun and excitement of story.
I love a good story. When I learned to read, I’d hide in my room and read stories of far away places and of people different from me. The longer the book, the better I liked it. I could immerse in the narrative and become part of the adventure.
Books felt more fun than life.
Our stories are wonderful, complicated, full of challenges, villains, heroes, and tragedy. We are books being written, and everyone of us is a story worth telling.
There are no bad stories.
There are those filled with wrong choices and sorrowful consequences. Others have been provoked to push the limits on what they should do. Still others are traumatized by situations beyond their control.
We all have the chance to choose how we deal these issues. Our choices.
I’ve told my story enough times that I too often use it as an excuse to act a certain way. To become the victim because of tough times growing up. To want others to feel sorry for me because life was hard.
But the beautiful thing is I am writing the next chapter. Others can influence the telling, impacting what happens to me. I get to choose how I’ll respond to these circumstances. Will I become the victor or the victim?
Like Sloane, it’s often easiest to play into the story we know and have told ourselves so many times, defaulting to the hard parts. We act out of pain that was and don’t move forward in growth or hope.
Bad things do happen to everyone. No one is absolved from pain and suffering, no matter how glorious another life appears. Our stories are filled with the difficulties of a broken world and shattered people.
God is the Master Storyteller. He’s created us with free will to choose how we move ahead in life. But He’s also offered us a way to do it with hope if we trust Him to walk with us. He’s the power and presence we need to move forward when it appears that obstacles block our every path.
That’s redemption. Taking our brokenness and covering it with His grace, His willingness to forgive us.
God invites us to allow Him to enter our stories to become our Advocate, Rock, and Hope.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16
Grace and mercy are what we need and can never provide for ourselves–receiving forgiveness and hope which we don’t deserve and not receiving the punishment we do deserve.
I know the end of my story, and it’s a good one. Eternity in the presence of God. Guaranteed.
The parts before then? Every day I choose how I will respond to what life hands me. How I’ll write that chapter.
I don’t have to write it alone.