This week I am vividly reminded that I do not write my story. I never have. I never will.
I’ve rediscovered that I don’t even control the appearance of my story. Not only is someone else writing my story, but someone else is providing the colorful and glossy illustrations!
Only God. Only God writes my story. Each and every chapter. Each and every bend in the road. Those few moments along the way when I feel like “I’m in control” or “I’ve got this” are mere illusions. The “ashes to ashes” of the old English burial service is a far better descriptor of who I really am.
This morning my mind wanders back to the Church at Corinth. If you loved money and a good time, Corinth was the place to be. Corinth was a Greek city-state which was marked by wealth and luxury, and right in the middle of it all was a group of Christ followers who had been planted there for God’s glory. Friends, there are strong parallels between Corinth and our contemporary culture. Said another way, Corinth is not that far from Paducah.
Many of the Corinthian believers regarded themselves as prominent and respected citizens. They were women and men enjoying a certain status and influence. As you well know, it’s not always easy to keep your head on straight when you’ve got lots of toys and distractions. So, among the Corinthians, the gospel message – this “foolish” message of Christ’s Cross – didn’t always occupy the place of centrality where it belonged. Some church folks would become ashamed of the gospel. Certain teachers would minimize or obscure the gospel, just to be validated by the wider community. And many professing Christians would end up not wanting to be identified with the gospel, in the long run, because they craved so badly that life of “I’m in control” that still dogs you and me.
Enter Paul. What did the apostle remind them (First Corinthians 3:18)? Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
The world, and even the church, may love us for a moment. But, sooner or later, we’re likely to be labeled fools. This may be one of the harder parts of your story, and of mine. We may be misunderstood, maligned, and marginalized – but that may be the moment when we finally discover the wisdom of God.
Here’s what I’m discovering about what I need in order to go the distance with Christ. Maybe you’ll be able to relate …
I need humility. For goodness’ sake, I need to get over me. That’s it, really. Easier said than done, of course. But perhaps the victory of the Christian life.
I need detachment. In certain seasons when my finite mind can’t make sense of anything that’s happening, I need to step back and remember the thesis of this blog posting: “I do not write my story.” When I grasp that truth, I can breathe a sigh of relief, because – though I’m certainly in my story – I am not my story’s Hero.
I need armor. I’ve been enlisted for battle. Whether I remember my charge or not, I’m supposed to be destroying strongholds of spiritual darkness. The same goes for you. There’s not a chance in this world that we can do this in our own power. We need the Spirit and strength and steadiness of God for such a time as this.
And I need more than a small dose of humor. I’m not talking about laughing at anybody else – I’m talking about the ability to laugh at me! Did I really think that I was in control? That must be the absolutely funniest one-liner of the day!
I’m following the Son of God, whom the priests called a fool, and I’m blessed just to be along for the ride. I don’t write the story, but the fact that my name is written in the Book is more than enough.