Life stories – we all have a variety of them. Some are good, and we love to share those stories. There are other stories, though, that we probably wish we never had to contend with. I think that maybe we forget that our stories are not just for us, they are not solely ours. We are not the author of our stories, of our lives.
If God created us, each of us, for this particular time in history, then I believe there is a reason why we, you and I, are here on Earth together. I believe our stories can impact each other’s lives in ways we could not imagine. Have you ever sat through a meeting or a sermon and wondered, “How does that person know exactly what I needed to hear?” And that is exactly where God is allowing someone else’s story or testimony to intersect with ours. That is the point where God is using someone else to meet us right where we are.
We’re happy to share our good stories – the ones that bring us joy or contentment. We’re happy to share how God is providing and all He is doing in our lives.
But what about the tough stuff? What about some of those gut-wrenching experiences in life? Why does God allow those, and why, WHY, would we ever share those? They are steeped in sorrow, darkness and discontent. Who wants to hear about that? Who wants to know the tough stuff?
I have had these exact conversations with various friends over the past few months. The past 12 months have been full of ups and downs for our family. Times have been ugly when I would have preferred beautiful, rainy when I wanted sunshine. I shared about many of our biggest struggles here. They are full of ugly memories, frustration, and wondering where God was.
We shared that story, though, and we watched as God provided – in ways we never imagined, to provide for our needs. Sometimes it was through people, other times it was through some strange situations, like a car accident, which ended up providing for us financially. It really doesn’t make much sense, outside of trusting God.
I’ve also shared about our experience with miscarriage, and how God redeemed that experience, for me. I’ll tell you, that was one experience that I would never have wanted to have. I wonder what was so wrong that God wouldn’t save that baby’s life. Sharing that story, though, has given me opportunity to stand with others when they face similar circumstances. Because I have that story, I’m able to identify with families who are hurting. I have been able to send my experience to several moms who have asked, out loud, “Has anyone else experienced this?”
If we can trust that God is the author of the particular stories we have in life, it can make us a little more brave in quietly whispering, “I am hurting,” or, “My life is a mess right now,” or, “I don’t know why God has this as a part of my story.”
But that, right there – did you see that? THAT is the truth, the part to cling to:
God has this as a part of my story.
When we can trust God for our story, we can trust that God will use our story. We don’t know how He will use it, and we don’t know for whom He may use it. But that isn’t for us to know – that is for God, who has put us here right now, to know and to decide.
We can try and manage our own stories, and our own lives, or we can trust God to do that. And if we believe that God created us, the world around us, and chose to put us here now, can’t we trust that He has a plan for all that we encounter?
Let’s be real for a minute – we can’t always trust. It’s hard to trust. I know that. Believe me, I know.
Can I offer you the same hope that saw us through some of these toughest struggles? It’s powerful – it’s the name of Jesus. When life is hard, or even overwhelming, try saying the name of Jesus, even out loud, and see if your heart isn’t filled with peace! Say it over and over, until your heart is listening and believing that His name can calm your storm.
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Because His name can calm your storm, can you also trust that His name will author your story with great care? Remember, He will be with you, every step of the way. He is writing our stories with purpose, and on purpose, to use us to minister to others. It’s no accident what you go through, but you don’t go alone.
Our stories are not just for us. God wants to use them in a mighty way. Be encouraged – and remember the overwhelming peace that comes with the name of Jesus!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.