This past summer, when the wildfires hit Colorado, John Eldredge and a friend were having a meal together. They were discussing the fires and the possibility of being directly affected. They talked about what they thought Jesus was saying through everything. They both said, "Trust the Larger Story."
This is a good thing to do throughout life in general. We live in a world that is broken, and we deal with broken people. Not only that, we are broken ourselves. Stuff happens in our day-to-day lives and all around the world. Not a day goes by that we don't hear or read about tragedy and death. Sometimes we are the ones experiencing those things. We get sick, jobs are lost, friends disappoint. Sometimes we just struggle with living. But, that is not the whole story.
The story is not about us. We are not the heroes. We are living in God's story, the story of a Kingdom and the restoration of all creation. It is a much larger story that spans eternity. We are in that story, and we all have a part to play, whether big or small. It is that story that gives us hope and encouragement.. The thing we need to do is take our eyes off ourselves and focus on Jesus and what he is doing. That's the hard part. We tend to be so wrapped up in what is happening to us in that moment that we forget that there is more going on than what we can see with our limited vision.
A few weeks ago, Dan Edelen at Cerulean Sanctum wrote a good post about Romans 8:28. In this post he spoke of the good for which God works all things, and the fact that the things that happen to us don't always seem to fit into this verse. Dan asks,
"What if the Creator's intention for 'those who love God' isn't primarily for the individual crushed by circumstance? What if the 'those' consists of the greater mass of Christendom?"
What if the intention is for the overall good of the Kingdom? The early church believed that the Kingdom spread through their suffering, just as it had been inaugurated in Jesus' suffering on the cross and his resurrection. Believers who have suffered for Christ through the centuries have understood this. Here in the West we have a hard time grasping this concept. Our vision of our faith is extremely personal.
Remember that the Larger Story began long before any of us arrived, and it will continue to be played out long after this life is over. It is a story that is about the Creator and the love he has for his creation. That story will come to its climax. Perhaps then, we will look back at our part in the play and say, "Now I understand."