“We will only love our story to the degree that we see the glory that seeps through our most significant shattering. To see that glory, we must enter into and read our tragedies with confidence that they will end better than we could ever imagine…. God writes our story not just for our own enlightenment and insight, but to enlighten others and to reveal his own story through our story.” – Dan Allender, To Be Told
Today I had bacon and eggs for breakfast. I also ate two pieces of toast with blackberry jam, and drank a glass of orange juice. Last night was Game 5 of the World Series. I watched the Phillies’ Curt Schilling outpitch Juan Guzman and the Blue Jays. Nate wants the Blue Jays to win. I don’t care. It was still dark this morning outside when the school bus came, but the sun was starting to peek through the leaves behind the neighbors’ house. There was frost on the grass. I wore my green and white sweater and jeans.
Before class, I waited in the hallway with Nate and Matt and Nat. They were talking about girls and Nirvana. I put my blue and yellow gym bag in my locker and stood with my back against the wall. M____ walked by and said that my hair looked greasy. But I had just washed it on Wednesday. My face got really red and I realized I had forgotten to put on deodorant. I opened my gym bag and tried to put Old Spice on beneath my sweater without anyone noticing. I accidentally put a line of deodorant on the side of my jeans.
A___ looked really cute today. I hoped I would see her after school during cross country practice. She plays soccer but sometimes our team runs around the soccer field with Mr. Pride and you can see the girls practicing and I hoped that A_____ would notice me but at the same time I hoped that she wouldn’t….
Junior high. Can anyone recall those days without a wince?
I think back to the hormonal cocktail that frothed through the hallways like Mentos in Diet Coke. Girls: the object of my affection. Me: the object of their affliction. And they were bigger than me.
I still remember attempting to control my life by compulsively chronicling my daily activities. I would come home from school, eat an entire king-sized Symphony candy bar (hey, I was a growing boy), and sit on my lumpy bed filling college-ruled pages in my green canvas binder. I’d write until the sun set and an orange glow flamed on the horizon and it got too dark to see the paper without turning on a light. Then I’d plummet into a coma-like nap. Escape.
For me, chronicling my life made it seem less chaotic, less arbitrary. I thought that if I could just write it down, I could be in control.
God’s authority in our lives is related to his authorship of our life.
Unlike my pitiful junior high journal, God really does control my life. He really is the author. All of my days were written in his book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16).
And yet it seems strange that he would allow so many tragedies. What sort of divine authorship is this?
For victims of spiritual abuse, God’s authorship of our lives can present a psychological challenge. After all, he’s the one who allowed us to experience deception and abuse, right? He’s the one who said, “You’ll eat bacon and eggs this morning, yes, and then on Sunday you’ll go to church and your pastor will abuse you in my name.”
It is hard sometimes to reconcile God’s good authorship with the tattered days of my life. It is hard sometimes to see how my shattering is for my good or brings God glory.
Your life may have been filled with tragedy and pain thus far. That’s very sad.
But can you call it what it is—a shattering—and begin to trust that the Author of your life has greater glory in mind? That he has a cosmic story-arc of redemption of which your life is a part? That through your shattered life shines gleams of glory?
Christian psychologist Dan Allender reminds us that God’s authorship is actually co-authorship, because he has given us the ability to choose:
“My life is a play, a drama, and it will have a final line that sums up and completes all that has come before it. I write my own completion in the way I choose to spend my life. We are called to coauthor the ending according to the themes that the primary Author has penned for us. We are called to take up our pen and follow him.”
Trust that God has allowed all of your pain with a greater purpose in mind. Unflinchingly face your story—all of it, both good and bad—and realize that the very tragedy in your life has made your story compelling. That God is gaining great glory as you wrestle your way toward him through the weeds and muck of tragic circumstance. Trust that in the end, whatever man might have meant for evil, God means for good, for the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20).
God is doing his good things all the time, and someday we will only regret that we did not trust him more.
Who writes your shattered life?
But so do you.
How will you choose to co-author your story from now on?
I highly recommend Dan Allender’s book, To Be Told. I have included a Word document with some of my favorite quotes from it here. May it serve to whet your appetite.