Digging through my tightly stacked bookshelf, I finally spotted the desired book. The well worn “Becoming a Vessel God Can Use” by Donna Partow, is one that I have read and taught numerous times. Many sentences are underlined, highlighted, and starred as if the more that I marked, the more the truth would get into my heart. Loose pages were falling out and some were even missing. Entire chapters hung by loose threads, threatening to completely fall out.
Carefully thumbing through the tattered book reminded me of a speaking opportunity I had a couple of weeks ago. I presented my story as a book. All of our lives are like books stacked on a bookshelf. When we give our lives to Christ, Our story becomes His Story written through the details of our lives. As we surrender, we give the pen to Him to write whatever He wants, knowing that oftentimes it doesn’t look like a good plan.
As in any book, there are chapters that are wordy and honestly kind of boring. Then come the cliffhangers that thrust us to peek ahead into the coming pages to see what is next. Some chapters we want to rush through and get on to what is next and yes, there are some that we want to totally rip out.
Thumbing through the pages of our books of life we might find chapters titled pain, destruction, abuse, addiction, rebellion, death, divorce, or infertility. How would our story read if these chapters were not included? Some of those chapters are a result of living in a fallen world, but if we are honest, we all have chapters that we wrote ourselves with the help of our enemy. We made the horrible choices that led to sometimes long unwanted chapters. The embarrassment, humiliation and consequences leave us begging, “Rip That Chapter Out”!
But then would I really choose that if it were even possible?
Would I be who I am today, if I had not gone through those things? Especially with the promise of Romans 8:28!
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
After my speaking, gathered in little circles sharing our hearts, a dear friend shared a beautiful perspective. It went something like this:
“Martha, I don’t think I would really want to rip the chapter out. I hate what I did; what I went through, but it was in that experience that I met Him as my Shepherd. Oh, I had read about the Shepherd and heard messages about the good shepherd. I loved the poetry of the beautiful Psalms 23. but lying in my hospital bed that night, the Shepherd stepped into my room, opened His robe and pulled me up close to his pierced side. Wrapping His robe back around me, He then held me. It was the most beautiful experience ever. If I ripped out that horrible chapter in my life and threw it away, then I would also have to rip out “My Shepherd”.
I would never choose to loose that.”
Wow! What a new awakening came to my heart! My perspective changed as I began to see the chapters of my story being renamed.
“DEATH OF HUSBAND” renamed “THE LORD, MY HUSBAND”.
“ABUSE” renamed “CHERISHED”
“DIVORCE” renamed “ALL SUFFICIENT ONE”
“REJECTION” renamed “MINE”
“FINANCIAL SCARE” renamed “MY PROVIDER”
“STUPID DECISIONS” renamed “FORGIVENESS”
On and on it goes. Every experience in life is an opportunity to know God in a new way. These chapter changes actually change the title of my book from “My Story” to “His Story”.
It is in the darkest places and most horrendous experiences that we come to know Him in ways we have never known. It is then we can join in with Job and say: -
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Job 42:7
Write on Lord! I can hardly wait to meet you in the next chapter.