I was always a curious child, and this curiosity gave birth to a bad reading habit. When I was about a quarter of the way into a novel — about where I would start becoming invested in the characters — I would impatiently flip to the end of the book to find out how the story ends.
My eyes would quickly search for any clues that would reveal if the main characters would eventually survive or die, fall in love or find whatever it is they were searching for. I wanted to know ahead of time how the mysteries would be solved, and if I could expect a happy ending or not. After discovering how the story ended, I would flip back to where I left off. My curiosity assuaged, the anticipation gone.
How Will Your Story End?
I find that I do this less often with books now, but still attempt to treat life that way. As a single woman at thirty, I wonder whether I will eventually get married, or if it is God’s will for me to remain single. Not yet knowing the answer, I just want to flip to the right page to find out. As my parents continue getting older, I wonder how much time I have left with them. It would be great to know now if nonbelievers whom I love and have witnessed to for years will one day believe.
I find myself, like a detective, looking right and left for signs and clues for what will happen. How is this story going to end?
I just want to read the end of the book already, and avoid all of the in-between chapters that seem so long. It’s as if, like Eve, I believe the enemy’s lie that God is withholding something from me that I “need.” I need to know. I need just one bite. I need just one peek at the last few pages of the story.
The Point of Every Chapter
That’s not how it works, writes Paul Tripp. We do not need to know everything we think we need to know.
Thankfully I am not the author of my own personal story. Your story isn’t an autobiography either. Your story is a biography of wisdom and grace written by another. Every turn he writes into your story is right. Every twist of the plot is for the best. Every new character or unexpected event is a tool of his grace. Each new chapter advances his purpose. (New Morning Mercies)
By God’s grace, I am learning that in these in-between chapters, character development takes place. He’s teaching me trust, patience, and how to wait on him through the unknown. Just like with fictional characters, unexpected twists and turns and trials come into our lives, many of them being entirely out of our control. But the author always knows how the story is going to end before the characters do.
The Author of Your Faith
When I fix my eyes back on Jesus, I recall that he is the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2), and will lead me to a beautiful destination — a destination that will bring him glory. I have no need to anxiously distrust him and fear what is written in my chapters ahead. I can rely on his faithfulness as a Shepherd to guide me to the end. I can depend on him, because I know that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
I desire to one day say with a thankful heart what John Piper once wrote: “In all these years, the grace of God had driven me deeper into God in desperation, rather than driving me away from God in anger” (Future Grace). As my story continues, I want to testify through to the very last chapter that, even though impatience tried its best to take a hand at writing my story, all of the in-between chapters of waiting developed me and deepened my love and reliance for God, my Author.