Sunday, April 21, 2013

Once Upon A Time . . . .

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them. 
Psalm 139:16

Ye are an epistle of Christ . . . . written not with ink,
but with the Spirit of the living God;
not in tables of stone, but in tables that are hearts of flesh.
2 Cor 3:3

"What kind of Love is writing my story to the end.. . . With Mercy's pen?"

The above line from Natalie Grant's song, Alive, captured my heart a while back, and I've been pondering the imagery ever since.

Who doesn't love a good book, with a plot that grabs hold of you on the first page and carries you away hostage until you've reached the last?  The story haunts your thoughts for days afterwards, and you find yourself fondly remembering each character, wondering what they are doing now, and longing to spend time with them again.  Silly?  Maybe . . . . but you avid readers know exactly what I mean.

Books have transported me to ancient lands and distant shores.  I have tasted both victory and defeat in battle, taken my stand for justice as I championed a cause, been rescued by valiant heroes from certain doom, and swept off my feet by my one true love . . . . all while never leaving my favorite chair.  I have been inspired to the point of tears at triumphs of good over evil, and I have been devastated with disappointment over the human condition as the villain gains the upper hand and causes darkness to hijack the storyline.

Have you ever stopped to consider what makes some books so enjoyable while others seem to flop? 

Most stories have the same basic patterns: a setting is established, a conflict emerges, things go right, things go WRONG, there is a final breakthrough (a victory or defeat), and a conclusion. As the tale unfolds, the positive attributes as well as the personality flaws of the characters begin to be revealed and they become either dearly beloved or adamantly hated figures to the reader.

When I discover an author whose book I love, I look forward to reading his other works, as well.  I especially love a trilogy or series that allows me to follow a character or family through several generations and periods in history.  It is intriguing to see how decisions made by earlier characters leave a lasting and irrevocable impact on the family or the situation being presented. 

I can only conclude that the author must ultimately take sole responsibility for the success or failure of the tale he is penning.  He alone controls every element, after all, so only he can guide it to a satisfying outcome. Once the writer has signed his name to the final draft . . . . once he has leaned back in his chair, smiled,  and whispered to himself, "well done" . . . . only then can he entrust his work to the printers and wait for the reviews.  His masterpiece is now complete.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Okay . . . . back to the lyrics, "What kind of Love is writing my story to the end . . . . With Mercy's pen?" . . . . 

What if the ultimate author of your life's story is Almighty God?  He is, you know.  When He created you, He designed a specific setting just for you . . . . the perfect backdrop against which the plot would unfold.   He placed within you the necessary elements of your personality that were to help weave the most wonderful adventure.  He planned  epic battles for you to fight and the enemy of all enemies for you to overcome and vanquish.  And, of course there is the unmistakeable thread of the love story of the ages, woven throughout the saga from beginning to end.  This unique work is the first of a series as well, with the decisions that you make affecting the characters in future sequels as yet unwritten.  This has all the makings of a great masterpiece . . . . right?

But wait . . . . what is this I see? . . . . With all of Heaven looking on . . . . God does the most curious thing.  Quite deliberately . . . .  without a moment of uncertainty or hesitation . . . . He reaches down through the ages and places the pen solidly in YOUR hand!  Rather than being merely a passive participant in this work, you alone are now allowed to determine your role and to decide how the plot will unfold to the ending.  Shocking!

The gift of the human will . . . . this is the most dangerous gift that God ever bestowed upon His creation.  With it, we love and follow Him completely one moment only to turn away and rebel against Him and His beautiful plan the next.   Why would He take such a risk?  Why were we entrusted with the power to break His heart?  There are hidden mysteries in this that will take an eternity for us to explore, but let's begin with this:  God is Love and love does not EVER insist on it's own way.  This God who is Love . . . . this Author and Perfector of our faith . . . .  has given us everything we will ever need to become who He desires us to be, but He will never insist, never force, never control.  Instead, He waits patiently . . . . bearing with us . . . . believing in us . . . . hoping for us . . . . interceding for us . . . . ever waiting and watching for that breakthrough in the plot, the place where the reader cheers and knows that the ending is now going to be outstanding!

Will you take this gift He gave you . . . . your own will . . . . this divine "Pen" . . . . and place it back into His loving Hand?  Will you trust that His version of your manuscript will be perfect in every way . . . . even if it unfolds in a direction that you would never have chosen?  Will you allow "Mercy's pen" to write your story to the end, just as the song suggests?  Will His name be signed at the end as proof of His final approval?  Will you stand before Him on that day and hear those cherished and long-awaited words . . . . "Well done, good and faithful servant"?  (Matt. 25:23)  Will you see Him smile at His finished work?

Only then will you know that you ARE the masterpiece that He had always envisioned . . . . Only then will His heart be fully satisfied . . . . And only then, beloved, will your own heart be fully satisfied. 

For we are God’s masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Eph 2:10 (NLV)