“I had always felt life first as a story; and if there is a story there is a story teller.”
G. K. Chesterton’s story intersected and impacted the story of C.S. Lewis, two Englishman
living at the turn of the 20th century.
In Surprised By Joy, the story of his journey to faith, Lewis poses an analogy, “if Shakespeare and Hamlet could ever meet, it must be Shakespeare’s doing. Hamlet could initiate nothing.” Lewis realizes over time that Shakespeare and Hamlet could meet, only if Shakespeare wrote himself into the story. And, he would have to take the initiative because Hamlet could not.
This is precisely what God did. God, the Author, the Creator wrote Himself into “the story” so humans could know him. By writing Himself into the human story- my story and your story, God initiated contact with His creatures through His revelation and primarily through the incarnation of His son. Otherwise individuals would have no story and no knowledge of Him. There would have been no clarifying story in which to place the individual stories - no overarching meta-narrative for Christians as in: creation- Fall -redemption – new creation.
Apart from Him, and from knowing Him, individual stories do not make sense. One’s life story is God’s story, authored by Him. He places my story smack dab in the middle of His story. He providentially creates and uniquely orchestrates my life to bring Him glory through my story as Paul affirms in Ephesians 1, “we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”
As I chart His hand in my life, I gain insight into His purpose. Because I am the only one who can live my story, I am the only one who can reflect His glory through my story. Understanding and accepting my story becomes a tool of personal spiritual formation.
What if I don’t like my story; what if it seems too overwhelming to make sense of? Were these the thoughts of the young Jewish slave girl in II Kings 5 whom God used to impact the army general of Israel’s greatest enemy? Her responses fascinate me.
Is it then, such risky business to trust the character of the Storyteller; to trust that the love of the Storyteller and His choice of orchestration trump the fleeting confusion that impacts us as the story characters? Our anchor IS the Storyteller. My hope for clarity rests in His sovereign grace.