“In other chapters of her life she was….” That phrase grabbed me when I read it in the review of someone's life.
Yes, my life too is like a book with chapters. Since I've written many life-chapters already, I look back now that I am living my summit chapter and feel as if I were a different person in each of those chapters. In a sense I was different; as I matured, I assumed different roles in the various chapters (seasons) of my life. In a sense I am still the same protagonist, the unchanging leading character throughout my non-fiction life book. But God is without question the Author.
We’re always told not to read the last chapter of a book to see how it turned out; we should wait to be surprised. The Mother of Jesus was unique, however, because God gave her a prophetic peek through old Simeon at the Presentation of baby Jesus in the temple. He revealed one of the later chapters of her life that would pierce her heart. I'm not privy to such a revelation; perhaps it is best that all of us are spared that glimpse. Either we would be too eager to reach the happy ending of our life story—or drag our feet if we knew in advance about some trial that was to come.
I am a bookworm; I inhale books, so to speak. As a writer, I think in chapters. I love to read all kinds of books, especially biographies and dramatic New York Times bestsellers, if they are clean. If I have any addiction, it is that I overindulge when I read a book—once started, I overeat it. I'm intemperate; I swallow the book whole, gobble it up almost at one sitting. I feel compelled to read it straight through to the finish, let the world go by; nothing else will get done. And I always have another good book waiting in the wings as soon as I finish the last page of the current one.
Our lives are like the chapters in a book, a biography. In the beginning we have the front matter, the foretaste that launches our story, like the Acknowledgments, Foreword, Introduction, maybe a Preface. God has determined the setting, chosen our DNA, and the circumstances where our life-drama will take place. He chose the plot and the characters who will interact with us in life but allowed ample choice through our free will. It’s bound to be a real page-turner!
Each chapter is separate and chronologically progressive. No single chapter is the whole book; the plot and subplots keep unfolding, so I shouldn't get bent out of shape at how things seem to be turning out in a particular chapter, like the one I am living right now. God is at work developing the whole exciting adventure story of my life. I shouldn't despair half way through. I must hang in there—everything will work out. The kids who are in diapers in one chapter will walk down the aisle in cap and gown and later in wedding apparel. The stuff I worry about which I don’t think I can possibly live through, I may not even remember when I'm living in the next chapter.
I can anticipate a generous basketful of serendipity times and events and adventures that will contribute to the fulfilling of God's purpose for my life. And a ton of ordinary days and seeming non-events. The trivials and humdrum routines are said to be the very building blocks to develop our holiness. The Mother of Jesus and his foster father Joseph surely must have had many joyful but ordinary, homespun times with Jesus as He was growing up. Not everything they said and did would have been quotable, earth-shaking, and worthy of holy writ otherwise the gospels would have included that part of Jesus' biography.
Since my life is made up of so many commonplace daily doings, I shall enjoy each chapter as the pages turn and treasure the beloved characters who are living it with me. In my life book some characters will come and others will go. I must keep offering to God all things joyful and painful and accept His well-plotted plan for my life story. I shall live fully in the present chapter until God writes the first line of the next chapter.
There are times in life when I have thought that surely I have reached the last chapter and God must be getting ready to close my book. I can't second-guess God! When I approached my eightieth year, I thought I had written the final chapter in my literally about-to-be-published autobiography. What more could God possibly have left for me to experience in life? Little did I know that not one but several more incredible chapters (and several more books) were about to unfold. Instead of being finished, I was right on the verge of one of the greatest paradigm changes of my life.
I'm always eager for God’s breathtaking, fantastic surprises in each next chapter! Ultimately, after God concludes the last chapter of my earthly life story, I look forward to a grand Epilogue, a fitting climax—Eternity in the Presence of the Blessed Trinity!
As they say, “The best is yet to come!” So I celebrate each chapter as a loving gift from God!