This is All His Story (A Lesson from The Theater)

Looking at that stage, you would have thought that there were 40 little stars in the show.

From gingerbread cookies, to a mysterious gypsy, from village peasants to silly hobgoblins, forest sprites, and a bridge troll who wants payment from forest travelers, you couldn’t tell at a glance who was telling the main story and who was telling an aside in the performance of  The Story of Hansel and Gretel.076

My husband says that everyone on the stage has the job of telling their story.  Some get to have a name and some dialogue.  Others don’t.  But no one is simply there for background noise.

Every actor acts as if his character’s story is the main story.

But this is the life lesson that stings as it tramples down over our pride—We aren’t the main story in this world.  None of us are.

This story isn’t ours at all; it’s God’s.

Chris Tiegreen wrote:

All of our life is a struggle between self-centeredness and God-centeredness.  We know our lives are supposed to revolve around Him and His will, yet we have so many personal dreams and goals.

It’s not that our story doesn’t matter to God or that He views us as just “one of the crowd,” a random human in a sea of human need. 

To God, each person matters.  Each of us is a treasure.  Each of us is beloved and worthy of sacrifice.

Our personal story always matters to Him.

But sometimes we think we know how our story should go, never considering how our life connects, overlaps, and intertwines with the lives of those around us.

This self-centeredness, thinking it’s my story and that God needs to bend His weighty will to my own personal plan, always shows up in my prayer life.

I tell God, “Here’s what’s happening to me and it’s yucky.  I’m hurting.  I need you to answer my prayer and provide…..and here’s how You can do that.”

I’ve given God three-step strategies to provide for me or rescue me.  I’ve created mental timetables, agendas, and budgets and called out to God as if I presided over a boardroom meeting and He was the lackey in charge of production.

Foolish me, prideful me, self-centered me…I forget.  I forget that He is always the main event.  He is the hero.  He always knows my need and the best way and time to provide.   He knows how my story fits into His story.

You can pray for that specific job, at the expense of someone else who needs it and who God designed for it.  Or you can pray for the perfect job God has planned for you.

You can pray for that specific spouse you want to marry.  Or you can pray God brings you the perfect husband or wife at just the right time.  romans8-26

You can pray that God blesses your ministry efforts here.  Or you can pray that God directs your steps to the ministry He has designed for you.

We bring to Him our problem.

We leave the solutions up to Him.

That’s how we yield our story to His and allow Him full reign over our life’s direction.

This is why Paul told us more than just this verse that we like to quote so much:  “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”  (Romans 8:28)

The verses immediately before that say:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).

Then, yes, when we’ve allowed the Spirit to intercede for us according to God’s will, He works everything out for our good.

And not just for our good.

But for the good of the person to our left and the one to our right and even those so far off to the side of the stage we can’t even see them.

He sees us all and knows the perfect plan that will work for our benefit and for His glory.

But we yield our story to Him, we lay it low at His feet and let Him take center stage in our life, in our dreams, in our needs, and in relationships.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

Trust the Director (A Lesson from the Theater)

Lesson Two: Trust the Director

She said there was a magic oven, a gingerbread house, a fireplace, an enchanted forest and a bridge to hide the troll.

We couldn’t see them, of course.  Not yet.

For months, the cast of The Story of Hansel and Gretel interacted with an invisible set, pretending to eat an invisible house, ducking behind an invisible wooden bridge, all because the director told them, “This is where it’s going to be.  This is what’s going to happen.”057

And they had to trust her.

So it is with us.  Our Director tells us to step here, walk there, and do this, and in so many cases, we don’t see the purpose or the ultimate design.

We have to trust Him anyway.

During those weeks of rehearsing with no props, no set, and no costumes, the actors could have assumed it would last forever and that they’d walk on an empty stage on opening night in their street clothes.

Yet, behind the scenes, there was a bustle of activity.  A costume designer measuring, shopping, and sewing.  A prop master searching for the perfect basket.  Painting and building sets.  Printing tickets.  Prepping make-up.

Our God is also at work behind the scenes, even when we can’t see the evidence.  Then, at just the right moment, He provides for our need and unveils the completed design He’s been working on all along.

Oswald Chambers wrote:

On looking back we see the presence of an amazing design. . .  Be ready to discover His divine designs anywhere and everywhere.”

It’s in retrospect that we see God’s glory in our circumstances.  Just like Moses, we see God’s glory as He passes by.

Moses entered the most holy place of God’s presence on that sacred mountain and with inexplicable boldness, he asked God to “show me your glorious presence” (Exodus 34:18).

Mortal and sin-plagued as we are, we can’t see God’s face.  We can’t take in the fullness of His glory without falling dead at His feet.

Yet, God told Moses,

“As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand and let you see me from behind.  But my face will not be seen” (Exodus 34:22-23).

What if we’re staring at our surroundings, straining to see God and we see nothing?  No sign of His presence.  No hint of His favor or blessing.  No indication of his design.hebrews10-36

Perhaps He has hidden you in the crevice of a rock and covered your face with His hand.

Then when He has moved in all His glory, we will look again and see where God has been.  We will see what He has done by the trail of His presence.

In the meantime, as we squint our eyes to see the now-invisible glory, we take those steps of faith, trusting that if our Director says to ‘move here,’ we go even if we still can’t see, even if we still don’t understand.

When Naaman, the powerful army commander for King Aram, asked Elisha to heal him of leprosy, the prophet sent a messenger telling Naaman to bathe in the Jordan River seven times.

It was ridiculous.  Mundane.  Not a glorious enough miracle for Naaman’s powerful position.

Yet, after blustering about the foolishness of it all and complaining about how ridiculous it was, Naaman obeyed.

And that obedience took perseverance.  He had to obey without giving up, dipping down in that river again and again, never seeing the healing until the seventh time he ducked his head down in obedience.

At any moment, he could have said, “this clearly isn’t working,” and walked away with the leprosy still ravaging his body.

But because he obeyed completely and awaited the appointed time, God showed up in His glory and healed him.

Like the actors rehearsing without props and without a set, we move where God says to move.  We do what He tells us to do.

We trust our Director’s vision and instruction, and we do it with faith and patience, obeying without giving up, just as Naaman did.  We obey with anticipation, knowing that we will see God’s glory as He passes by.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King