Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Unfolding Story

Films are not very long. What - maybe two hours?
Television shows are even shorter - a half hour with many commercial breaks.

My thought is that we get used to having stories told in a pretty short period of time. The plot unfolds quickly. Some conflict or problem is confronted, then resolved more or less neatly.

Even so, I don't handle the tension well. When the situation gets tense in the program, I cover my eyes or get up and pace or go to the kitchen. While I am gone the story moves along. I can't even stand the few seconds of tension. I take a break and come back when we are closer to the resolution. (Much to her chagrin, I also have to ask my wife, "What happened while I was gone?")

This is, of course, bad training for life. We get used to quick resolution of the stories and we kind of expect a quick resolution of the stories of our lives.

My baby sister, Cindy, has just started a life and death battle with breast cancer. Two weeks ago she had surgery. Now she is healing up from that, learning what pathology discovered about her cancer and planning for the next steps of chemotherapy, radiation and reconstruction. Today she was talking about three years down the road...

I would like to cover my eyes, pace around or go to the kitchen for a snack...

But this is real life. It isn't going to be resolved quickly. I can't take a break and I'm not sure what the resolution will be. The pain is not fictional pain portrayed by actors. It is real pain - suffered by my sister, by her husband and sons, by our parents... by me.

There is no fast forward - and since I don't know where this story will go - I'm not sure I want to hurry past the present. The time - even with the pain - is precious. The future is always uncertain, but now we feel it intensely.

But here is what I DO know.

God is faithful. All the pain will be worthwhile in the eternal story that is unfolding. The present difficulties provide the canvas on which God will paint the beautiful truth of His sufficiency - His goodness and grace.

We didn't get to choose the circumstances, but we do get to choose how we will respond. So we will pray and hope and call and encourage and pray some more. And we will watch the WHOLE story to see how God will use these things for His good purposes.

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