God's story never ends
Photo by Anja
OM is full of stories. Stories that we tell on our websites, in newsletters and in presentations. We tell stories with words that we type and speak, but we also tell stories through videos, through pictures taken and brochures we develop. We tell stories of ministry outcomes, stories of people we meet, of hopes and dreams we have for a certain community or country, or stories of new developments – good or bad. Every single person within OM has countless stories to tell. Short stories, moments, encounters they have had, but also longer stories, stories about years of hard work and perseverance, of hours of talking and drinking coffee or tea. Every person has their own story to tell, one that is made up of struggles and joys, of ordinary life and extraordinary moments.
Stories are not something unique to OM. They are everywhere in the world. Every movie, book or song tells a story. They all have a beginning and an end. When a song ends, the story seems over. When the killer is found at the end of that thriller, the movie ends. When the couple is finally together and they kiss on the last page of that romance novel, the book ends.
But in life, the end of a story is never the end of it. It always goes on. When that book or movie is over, time seems to freeze and life as we know it seems to stay exactly the same. But our life never stops, time never comes to a halt. It always, always moves on, because God always continues writing it.
When we tell a story, life as we tell it will not stop where the story ends. When our project seems to take a bad turn, it will not stop there either. When we meet someone and miss the exact right thing to say, it is not the end of it. If a chapter in our life closes, there is always a new one coming. Transitions–small or big–can be bittersweet. Moving on from a work can be difficult and we might miss all that we knew, but life goes on, and there are new things waiting around the corner. Life brings us people into our lives, and sometimes life parts ways again. But there is always a way to walk, even if it’s two different ones.
There is a song in the Bible that talks about God’s deliverance and restoration after we sinned. Many have sung its words: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” – Psalm 51:10 (NIV). Beautiful words that have touched many people’s hearts. This Psalm in itself is a beautiful song with a great ending. Zooming out a little, we know that the Psalm is written by David after he has been convicted of a terrible sin: adultery with a beautiful woman named Bathsheba. The story would make a great movie: lust, intrigue, murder, a tragic loss and a seemingly happy ending for the leading characters who become a family with another baby. Switching perspectives to Uriah’s story, a man of incredible integrity, we have the tragic ending of his murder to tell. Zooming out a little more, we know that those stories, that couple and their baby, are beautifully woven into a much bigger story that eventually led to the birthing of another baby who is probably now the most famous man in the world’s history: Jesus Christ! It was all part of a greater story, a greater plan: A song of restoration, a man’s tragic ending and the new beginning of a family.
Thankfully, those stories were not a movie. They never stopped. They moved on. Just the same, our stories do not end. Our lives never freeze in the best or worst moment. Our own story only ever comes to a halt when we move on from this earth, but even then, THE story will go on. God’s ultimate story will go on until the glorious victory and triumphant ending, until we all sing songs of praise.
In times of loss or transitions, when we don’t know the grounds or don’t see the direction of where we are going, it can be scary to take the next step. In those times, we can remind ourselves that our life does not freeze. It is made up of different chapters that entail a whole lot of different moments and stories. We should never be afraid to turn to the next page, because God’s story has not yet ended.
This challenges me to greater joy in times when the happy-ending movie would stop, because I know life is not only made up of happy endings. And it gives me hope: hope in difficult times, because I know that God is writing a much bigger story, hope in times of doubts, because I know He is in control, and hope through goodbyes, because I know that the bitter will be replaced by sweet through new hellos.