Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16
If my life were an indie movie, it would be so much cooler. Last night, after watching a great one called Happy Thank You More Please, I enjoyed that temporary lingering delusion that I was in the camera of such a film. It made brushing my teeth so much more interesting, having the camera focus in on the running water and the spitting of toothpaste, as if those acts had intricate significance for the plot of the film. That is what independent films do so well: they take quirky or seemingly plain and perhaps slightly unattractive people in painfully ordinary situations and show their layered beauty and fascinating complexity and powerful, life altering meaning. They make brushing your teeth influentially beautiful.
I don’t see myself or my days the way the camera of an independent film would. The bad smells in my house aren’t quirky or atmospheric. The endless clutter of things not put away as quickly as they are pulled out is not charming or amusing or setting the scene for something profound. The drudgery in my tasks of cleaning the counters, folding laundry or sorting paperwork isn’t helping endear my character to any audience. My lense is not that of the artist but far more short sighted, missing the way these details do in fact tell a meaningful and interesting story in the hands of an expert Storyteller.
Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,… Psalm 107:2
God’s story is never boring, never mundane, never insignificant. God tells GOOD stories.
And here is another thing about God, the greatest independent film maker, and His stories…they are always novels and almost never short stories. That was an insightful line in last night’s movie said to one of the characters who was a writer of short stories – he didn’t know how to live more than short stories and his honest friend told him she was tired of living in short stories and ready to live in a novel. I think I’m like that character, a sprinter who doesn’t know how to go the distance and am ready to give up or change course in “short story” time. I think this is why I miss the beauty and meaning in my moments because I don’t see how they are crafted in the longer tale.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Gen. 50:20This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. Acts 22:23For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Romans 9:17
Whether harmful, wicked or rebellious or simply painfully ordinary, there is no event or character that falls outside of God’s redemptive story line. This means that my shuffling down the hall past clutter or brushing my teeth or wiping off the kitchen counter are necessary details even if my unimaginative mind can’t see it at this point in the film. This is where He grows my faith, not to begin to believe that I am suddenly the main character instead of Jesus, but to trust that because He is sovereign, it all does matter. His detailed scripting gives each moment greater significance than each should otherwise have. And perhaps this is where He begins to reverse the curse of toil in my labor, as He lets me look through His camera’s focus to view the influential beauty and profound meaning. Hope breaks in and strength slowly follows. That makes me happy. Thank you Lord. More please!
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:2-6