Lessons from the Theater, Part Three

This week, I’m sharing devotional thoughts based on my time working on a community theater production of Hello, Dolly! and today is the last post in the series.

You can read Lessons from the Theater: Part One here.
You can read Lessons from the Theater: Part Two here.

Lesson Three: This is All His Story

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

From the excitement as the town awaited the arrival of Dolly herself  . . .

to Red cross nurses, Prohibition protestors, and cutthroat politicians vying for every vote as they walked the parade route  . . .

to the chaotic melee of ladies knocking rabblerousers over the head with their tiny handbags . . .

to the scowling and crying in a courtroom scene . . .

you couldn’t tell at a glance who was telling the main story and who was telling an aside in the performance of Hello, Dolly!.

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 character thinks, “My story isn’t the focus here, so I can just fill in background space.”

Instead, the actors use every available tool to tell what they are doing there, what happened to bring them to this place and what they think about it.

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

For us, though, one of the incredibly hard lessons in life is that we aren’t the main story.  In fact, this story isn’t our story 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.

The difference, though, is that sometimes we think we know how this story of ours should play out and we don’t consider all the other people whose lives connect, overlap, and intertwine with our own.

So, how do we balance knowing that God desires intense involvement in our lives and also knowing that He desires the same for every other person on the world stage with us?

We check our prayers.

Self-centeredness for me almost always shows up in my prayer life.  I think I know.  I certainly know what my problems are.  Truth be told, mostly I think I know the perfect solutions, as well.

So, 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.”

The other day as I prayed, I actually found myself giving God a three-step strategy for helping me.  “Here are three ways that You can answer this request, God.  I don’t care which you pick or maybe You do all three, but I’m just laying out the options for You as I see them.”

Just in case our infinite, omnipotent, omniscient Creator God was out of ideas and needed a little help from me.

Are you horrified by my brazenness?  Astounded at my ridiculous posturing as a deity in my own right?

You should be!

How can I confine God to my limited understanding of reality?  By thinking that this is my story and not His!  By forgetting that He is always the main event, He is always the hero, and He always knows my true need and the best answer to my requests.

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

You can pray for that specific spouse who you just know God wants you to marry.  Or you can pray God brings you the perfect husband or wife at just the right time.

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 doesn’t write Romans 8:28 as a stand-alone thought.  Sure, he told us that, “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  It’s one of our favorite Scripture verses to quote to ourselves and to each other.

Yet, Paul had so much more to say about that in context.

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.  We just need to submit our story to His and allow Him to occupy center stage in our lives at all times and in every situation.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King