You Are Not the Author of Your Story
You’re probably like me — you like a good story. Whether it’s a TV drama, a box office hit movie, or a best-selling novel, we tend to line up for a compelling story.
Maybe you’re sitting in a restaurant or around a campfire, and your friends begin to tell stories. Each one seems better than the one before. It begins to feel a bit like a contest. It seems as if people are trying to “outstory” one another, so you begin to thumb through your mental catalog of personal stories to see if you are carrying one that may just win the day.
Maybe someone tells you a fantastic story, and you can’t wait for the opportunity to retell it to someone else. We all love a good story.
Your Story Won’t Make History
The honest reality is that most of our stories won’t end up in history books. After we die, most of our personal history will die with us, forgotten except for perhaps a few pictures or memories cherished by our closest loved ones. The chances of your life accomplishments being preserved in a biography are slim to none.
“Your life story is a biography of wisdom and grace written by Another.”
Discouraging? It shouldn’t be. Rather, if you are God’s child, you have been invited into a much bigger story — the grand redemptive story — which is now your biography.
Better than anything impressive that you could accomplish in this life, your life story is a biography of wisdom and grace written by Another. Every twist of the plot is for the best. Every turn he writes into your story is right. Every new character or unexpected event is a tool of his grace. Each new chapter advances his purpose.
Hosea 14:9 proclaims, “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right.” It is almost a gross understatement to say that God’s ways are better. How could they not be? He is infinite in wisdom and grace!
You have been welcomed into the best story ever by grace and grace alone. Best of all, this story that is your biography has an end that never ends.
The Best Story Never Ends
Most great stories are great because, through the characters, relationships, situations, and locations, they march you to an incredible ending. When someone is talking to you about a great movie they just saw or a great book they just read, they will often say, “You will just not believe the ending!”
The grand redemptive story, on the other hand, is the best story precisely because it has no ending. The one story you need to know, understand, and give your heart to is hopeful, encouraging, and life-transforming because it offers you the two wonderful things that no other story can offer you.
First, it offers you a place in the story, a place that was planned for you long before the story was written. But it also offers you something that is hard for the human brain to grasp and the human imagination to envision. It offers you life that never, ever ends.
We are all so used to death that we sadly think of it as a normal part of life. Things die, people die — end of story. But that’s not the end of this story. God’s amazing story of redemption, which is written for you on the pages of your Bible, is radically different, because in this story, death dies.
Yes, you read it right. The main character of God’s story (which is your story if you’re his child) comes to earth and defeats sin and death, and because he does, he offers us the one thing that no other character in any other story can offer us — real life now and eternal life to come.
What Story Are You Reading?
Remind yourself again today that you have a story, but it is not an autobiography. There is an author of your story, but the author is not you. You have been welcomed into an epic drama, but you will never be the hero. You have been given a kingdom, but you will never be its monarch.
“Why would you ever want an autobiography when you could have the story God himself has written?”
The price of your admission into this story was the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. But he conquered death so that by grace he could establish his story in your life. Today he reigns on your behalf and will continue to do so until the last enemy of your soul and of his kingdom has been defeated.
Then he will summon you into the final chapter — a chapter that never ends — where peace and righteousness will reign forever and ever. This is the story of your faith and your life. The story of this redemptive, eternal plan is now your biography.
Why would you ever want an autobiography when you could have the story God himself has written?
As I meditate on my story, woven into the grand redemptive story, I can’t help but run to the words of Jeremiah 9:23–24,
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
Below is a meditation in the form of verse that I wrote to remind myself to boast in the Lord and not in my own story. As you read it, ask yourself two questions: (1) How have you been tempted to take personal credit for your story when it is rightly due to God? (2) What specific aspects of the grand redemptive story can you celebrate today?
I have taken an accounting
I had to admit
that in many ways —
boldly other times —
I have taken personal credit for what I could not
or accomplish on my own.
I have no independent
that I have manufactured
on my own.
There is nothing that I have done
in my own strength.
There is no ability that I have employed
that does not come from
All the things around me
that had to be in place
for me to do
what I have done
exist under your sovereignty,
not my own.
All the people that have mentored me,
cooperated with me,
stood with me,
stood against me,
cared for me,
protected me, or
worked with me
came into my life
brought there by
I have arrived at places
that were not in my plan.
I have done things
I never envisioned to do.
I have lived in situations
that were not of my wise choosing.
I have been regularly surprised by the turnings
of my own story.
I have not had the
of a hero.
As I have taken an
this is the sum:
there is only one hero in my story,
only one who deserves
Clearly that hero is
My successes are the result of
and your grace.
You are the
and completer of my story.
There is nothing
that I have done
that could be done without
There is no reason for me to
The account points me here —
if I am to boast,
I will boast in