I like stories. All kinds of stories. Stories of romance where the nice guy ends up with the girl. Tales of adventure where good overcomes evil. Biographies of real, ordinary people that have achieved extraordinary feats. Stories fascinate me. When I meet someone new, I pepper them with questions about their background, family, and the road that led them to where they are today.
I love other people’s stories but it took me a while to embrace mine. As with most people I know, I have had my share of hardships along the way. On occasion, I look at other people and wish my life looked more like theirs. It would be nice to have had a fairy tale story with no mishaps or trials.
When I read about the stories of God’s people in the bible, however, I have an advantage because I know the ending and how God works out everything in His perfect plan. But the people living through it at the time could not see that. I think about Ruth and how she found herself as a young widow in a strange land. I wonder if she had moments where she could not believe how her life had turned out. Her husband died and left her with no children and a mother-in-law who was a widow herself. And yet God had a plan all along to redeem her and bless her to be in the lineage of Christ himself.
We recently studied about that lineage found in Matthew 1:1-17 in a series at church. The people mentioned in the family tree of Jesus are quite a diverse group. Not only are there kings, prophets, and great people of faith, there are also murderers, prostitutes, and extremely evil people. While it is surprising to us that God would have these people in the lineage of Jesus, it is very much like God to do this exact thing. Our pastor shared that there are two sides of grace. The human side is that when we hit rock bottom, we learn humility and look up in our brokenness. I have been that low several times in my life and this has proven to be true. The divine side of grace is that when God uses broken pieces, He gets more of the glory. I love this. It makes the broken pieces of my life a display case for God’s power and redemption. There is no question that He has done the work since I have nothing but remnants to offer.
This gives me great peace as I reflect upon my life’s story. In fact, it makes me embrace my story all the more. As I look back at the failures and brokenness, I now see God’s hand in it all. His providence, provision, protection and purpose are so evident. He turns a seemingly bad narrative into a wonderful account of His faithfulness. To God be the glory!
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28