Chuck Foreman – Teaching / Missions Pastor
Most of us have had plans and dreams for our lives—an agenda for how we’d like our life to be, however realistic or unrealistic it might be. If we believe in God, we hope he agrees with our personal agenda and would even like to have his blessing on it. It’s difficult for us to imagine that he would not be concerned about the same things we are. And so we pursue our plans and dreams expecting him to be right there in the middle of it all. If all goes as planned, we claim it’s because of his blessing and favor upon us. If our personal agenda takes a nose dive and goes straight south, we feel abandoned by God. It leaves us empty and bewildered and perhaps even bitter.
Have you ever considered the possibility, when life doesn’t work out as planned, when the story you’ve been trying to write for yourself doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped, that it’s because you’ve been trying to tell and believe and live the wrong story? Perhaps the reason we never arrive at a satisfactory answer to the mystery of our life is because we’re asking the wrong question. Perhaps the question is not, “How can I fit God into my story and get him to make it all happen for me?” Perhaps the right question is: “What is God’s Story for our world and how do I fit into it?” We’re correct in believing that God is the right key, but we’re just trying to open the wrong door with him.
Well, we’re not alone. Our ancestors in the faith made the same mistake. This is why they were so disillusioned when Jesus, whom they were certain was the mighty conquering Messiah they had been waiting for, rather than defeating the Romans, was instead executed by them! This was not on their agenda for Israel! And since God had not come through for them in the way they had hoped, they were left feeling abandoned by him. They failed to understand that God’s agenda for Israel and their own personal agenda for their nation were out of alignment. He had never intended for Israel to rule the world, but to be the Light of the World—that City of a Hill which would bring his love and peace to the entire world. They failed to read the prophets correctly. Their Messiah was in fact to be the Suffering Servant who would bear their sins and heal them by his own pain and death. They also glossed over the clear foretelling that this Holy One would not see decay. He would rise from death to reign as King of a new redeemed humanity. It was never about God becoming part of their story, but that they were intended all along to be part of God’s Story—even the very center of God’s Story for the world.
When we see ourselves as the integral part of God’s Story, as the whole reason he is telling the Story of his involvement in human history, then we find the meaning and the purpose of our lives. We no longer try to fit him into our story and come up empty when life doesn’t go our way; we see how his intention is to make us part of His Story. Jesus died and rose again so that all of humanity might experience the Victory of God and be drawn into His Story.