Last week I spoke to a large gathering of young moms. As I looked around the room of women seated at round tables I saw the fatigue of too little sleep, and the hopeful expressions of “please nourish me with something other than goldfish crackers”.
I know that most of them (probably with toddlers wrapped around their legs), stood in front of a mirror fretting about what to wear and how to camouflage a bulge here or there. I know I did too.
They worried about how much of their true story to reveal. They wondered if the chapter they’re living is important or impossible.
Each of us, married or single, parents or not, old or young, are living a chapter in the larger story of God.
You may not like this chapter you’re living right now. You may think it’s not important to the Storyline.
You see signs like this and you want to hurl something.
But God’s story doesn’t depend on our setting.
How did Moses feel about his chapter in the wilderness when God was writing a chapter of character refinement?
How did John feel about his chapter exiled on Patmos when God was writing a chapter of encouragement for the future?
How did Peter feel about his chapter in jail when God was writing a story of salvation for a jailer?
How did Joseph feel when he was sold into slavery when God was writing a chapter of rescue for His people?
Or how did Elizabeth feel during the MANY chapters of her life when she was barren when God was writing a chapter of preparation.
In Exodus 3:21 God says to his people in slavery (READ: crappy chapter!):
“I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.”
But this promise isn’t fulfilled until Exodus 12:36! That’s chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 that the Israelites had to trust that God was at work writing a redemptive story even though they couldn’t see it! They had to trust that even in the midst of harsh punishment and plagues and Pharaoh’s hard heart, God was at work. And they weren’t very good at it. Like you and I are often not very good at trusting that God is working in ways we can’t see.
God repeated His promises to the Israelites in Exodus 6, “but they did not listen to Him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.”
Sin is when we reject God’s script and try to write another one. We want to snatch the pen out of His hand and write ourselves out of a situation that God may be using for purposes we can’t see yet.
When we moved from Washington D.C. to Minneapolis, humanly speaking there was not enough time to sell our house in D.C. and close on one in our new state before John started work. We had two daughters under 3 years old, and I did not relish the idea of being a nomad wandering in the wilderness without a home (cue the violins). CLEARLY God needed my help with the script. I chose to snatch the pen away and try to write my own story.
And so I made an unethical choice. Before John had formally been offered the job, I whispered in the ear of a realtor friend that he could “unofficially” show our house on the DL while we were away in Minneapolis candidating.
When we arrived back in D.C. I called the realtor to ask if my plan had worked and he had a buyer. He said “Nope!”.
As soon as I hung up the phone, it rang. I picked it up and it was a different realtor who had no idea we were moving, but she had been in our house. She had a couple who had been looking for a home for a two years. She had described our house to them and they wanted to buy it sight unseen at asking price if we were willing to sell it.
And God said “HA!! I will ALWAYS be a better author than you. Trust me!”
If you’re living a chapter that seems like Egypt, seems impossible, it may be that you’re living Exodus 4-11, and like in chapter 12, a teacher recently pointed out to me that you won’t have to leave empty handed. Think about what you may be able to take with you from this chapter you’re living.