If you’re like me, there’s nothing better than a good novel to take you on a wild adventure or inflict the agony of unrequited love. If the writer is really good, I ignore my “to do” list for just one more chapter, and then another chapter. Finally at the end, the hero or heroine wins the day, usually because of some little fact or event buried unnoticed way back in the second chapter. A writer friend of mine is the master of the unexpected plot twists, those “O’Henry” endings that leave us amazed.
In the Bible, when Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, he must have felt all was lost until he became the favorite of the Pharaoh. Eventually, after years in jail for something he didn’t do, Joseph resumed control of Pharaoh’s Egypt and saved the kingdom from the ravages of a famine.
Enter his evil brothers who travel to Egypt for food. They don’t even recognize the brother they sold. And when Joseph tells them who he is, they have every reason to fear swift retribution. Instead, Joseph tells them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:19 NIV)
So God is really the inventor of the “O’Henry” ending!
If I were to write about every little thing that happened in my day, every happenstance over the years, it would be the most boring, unread book in the history of literature. Randomness does not interest people because it has no point. Yet, a well crafted plot in the hands of a good writer, weaves elements, large and small, into a cohesive whole cloth that has a beginning, middle and end – and sells millions of copies.
I don’t believe my life is a series of random events. And neither is yours. How often have you said, “If I hadn’t taken the bus that day, I wouldn’t have…” or “What are the chances that…?” There is a plot to our lives, a reason for what happens to us. After we recognize the Divine Writer who sings over his creatures (us), we begin to see, even if it takes decades, how and perhaps why God wrote this scene of joy or that season of sorrow in our lives.
I’ll be darned if I can anticipate his moves in my life. Just when I think I have a glimmer of where he’s going with something, where he will zig, he zags instead. But it doesn’t matter because I’ve finally learned that my life has significance. It is not just a series of unrelated events. I am not a pawn of a fickle wind or of a literary hack.
Through Jesus the Christ, I am a child of an awesome, powerful, wise Creator God and loving Father. My life will have meaning until I take my last breath because God plotted it out for his purposes even before I was “knit together in my mothers’ womb.”