Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Your Story or His?
I love the stories of the book of Genesis. The characters are not larger than life - their struggle to walk by faith, their fears that control their actions, their loves and losses - all this is tangible to us today. The only "character" that is larger than life is God, and that is still the case today, as well. The reader could easily ask, "Why did God put up with Rachel's idolatry?" and in the same vein ask, "Why does the Mormon church exist?" Sometimes we are given the thoughts of God (Should I tell Abraham of my plans?), other times we only see His action (Abraham leaving Egypt a wealthy man) or His silence (Isaac sending Esau to make preparations for the blessing).
Again, I think these three aspects of God's interaction are visible still today. The Complete Revelation of God that sits on our coffee tables gives us enough of His mind that we never have the excuse that we don't know what God wants for us. Other times we clearly see Him "opening doors" and "showing His hand in a mighty way," which is always consistent with the counsel of His Word, and probably has more to do with the power of our daily walk with Him and our ability to tune into His will, than it does with Him actually moving (I think He shows up a lot more than we give Him credit for - we just don't notice). And finally, His silence can be deafening, as we wrap ourselves in the day-to-day living and forget that we aren't the center of the universe.
It's His story.
If I've learned anything from studying and teaching Genesis several times it's simply that it's His story. It's not that we are pawns or robots, but God knows the plot and He's already written the ending. His story is going to end the way He wants it to end, and all the pages in between are simply getting us to the climax of the ending.
It's so hard to try to fit God into a human example, because if I call Him "the author," then we will naturally assume that He's manipulating the characters to accomplish His storyline. But God is so NOT like anything we can experience or even know, that somehow, as an author, He allows the characters to make choices but ultimately will bring the storyline to it's magnificent conclusion despite the lives and choices of the characters, all the while making it perfectly harmonize with His plot line and ending. Confusing? Well...He is God and we are not.
But it is His story. Our creation, our salvation, our redemption, and our future glory with Him is not about us, but about HIM. It's about His character and His glory. It's about His delight and His desire. After looking at Rachel and Leah yesterday, I was reminded how quickly life becomes about us and our happiness. And yet, with all their bartering and bickering, were either of them ever happy? Where does happiness come from? I want true joy, but my desires are so limited and empty without Christ. I have found that when I set my mind on the things below, not on the things of heaven, when I stop seeking the things above, then joy is not attainable - only frustration, conflict, sorrow and grief abound. But when I shift my perspective to the heavens, when I set my mind on Him, on His purposes, seeking His story and His conclusion and His ending, then joy springs forth, because being a part of His Story has eternal value.
So my encouragement for you today is to seek God's face in His Word, open your eyes to the work of His hands in your life and patiently trust in Him during the silent times, knowing that He is in control and you are a part of His story. Let me say this again: You are a part of His story. As much as Rachel or Leah, Abraham or Lot, Isaac or Ishmael, you are a part of His story - He has a plan that He will accomplish in your life that is part of a much bigger picture. Trust Him and place Him on the throne of your life.
Doesn't it kind of make you wonder where we are in the book? Are we in the final pages, or are there a few chapters to go? Oh, dear...that should be the topic of another blog entry...