In his remarkable book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller suggested that the Creator wrote us into his story along with sunsets and rainstorms as though to say, “Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.”
This made me think about the wood carver, Geppetto, whose Pinocchio came to life and made choices of his own, not such good ones at first. This, on a theological level, might be a helpful way to think about the synthesis of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Like Miller says, our Writer is composing a story and sovereignly chose to write us into it. He gives us characters life and the frightening freedom to make our own choices regarding the content of our own story within his story. Like Pinocchio, we’re crafted by the master Artisan, who breathed into our lungs and made us part of the grand narrative that he’s developing. Within his project – for better or for worse – he allows us live out our own narrative.
The unique story that we choose to act out affects not only our own place in the bigger narrative, but also influences other characters in it. We can choose the protagonist or antagonist role; it’s entirely up to us, but his story grinds on with or without our cooperation. He’s already written the final chapter of his story and is getting all the pieces in place. How it all winds up has lived in his mind since long before he included us. It ends well for him, which makes sense since he’s the Writer. It also works out fantastically for those of us who decide to collaborate rather than collide with his story. The after-the-final-chapter-of-the-story-party is already planned – down to the last balloon.
He knows how it ends, but when necessary, in order to keep the storyline on track, he insinuates himself into scenes that need his special attention. In the meantime, we were written in with certain unique attributes, aspirations, and assignments. The degree to which we cooperate with these determines how much we’ll enjoy the unfolding story, its final chapter, and the post-publishing party.
What do you think?
4 Replies to “The story within the story…”
A very compelling allegory…
This is so true: “The unique story that we choose to act out affects not only our own place in the bigger narrative, but also influences other characters in it. We can choose the protagonist or antagonist role; it’s entirely up to us. . .” In my little part of God’s story I hope to be more often the good example and less and less the bad example.
When I think I am in God’s will but it doesn’t make sense, I hope I am pleasing to Him and He will some day show me why things had to be the way they are.
Yeah, there’s certainly a lot in this free-will world of ours that doesn’t make sense. Let’s try to please him, like you say, and see if we care to ask him questions at the completion of this experiment. Jesus said to Peter, “you won’t understand this now, but later.” I’m thinking the “later” is later than we’d first hoped. He’s good.