God’s Editing in Our Lives
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God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.—Psalm 18:241
I had struggled with and overcome the demons of self-doubt and fear of failure, launched out into the deep, put pen to paper, and written my first short inspirational piece. I sat back and read it through several times. Pleased with my modest effort, I submitted the piece to a monthly magazine for possible publication.
Some time later the magazine’s editor contacted me, saying he would like to print my article. He also enclosed an edited draft for my approval or further revision. Edited! As I sat and stared at “my” work, now before me in edited form, a strange mix of feelings swept over me. I had seen myself as an up-and-coming writer, but that image vanished like a mirage in a gathering sandstorm.
After the initial shock subsided, I tried to think about the situation more objectively. The edited version was indeed better. The central idea I wanted to convey was still there, the imagery was intact, and the tone was unchanged, but the superfluous parts had been cut to get to the heart of the piece.
As I contemplated this, my eye caught a picture of a diamond ring in a magazine lying open on my table. I thought about how someone had mined the chunk of rock that had contained that diamond, and about the skilled hands of the lapidary that had transformed that diamond in the rough into a thing of beauty, highly valued and greatly desired. Like a diamond trapped in a chunk of rock, my rough piece had not been the final product. The diamond had been there, but it had taken other skilled hands to retrieve, cut, and polish it.
Life is like this too. We are created as rough drafts that must go through the editing process. God sees in each of us that spark of promise, like the editor spots a promising thought as he scans the rough drafts that cross his desk. Then God works to transform us step by step into a finished article that will make worthwhile reading. Our substance is reshaped repeatedly by the choices and decisions we make, the superficial and superfluous bits are purged through life’s trials, and we are fine-tuned and polished through our daily interaction with others.
Like my roughly penned story, in the hands of the Great Editor my life has become more than it was to begin with—and He’s not done yet.—Scott Montrose
Editing your story with God
Each of us has a unique story with God. It was written before you were ever born according to Psalm 139. I adore the idea that God doesn’t pen the same tale for everyone. …
As an author and blogger, I am quite used to the writing process. Ideas come together and eventually find their way onto pages. I tend to create an initial draft, set it aside for a few days and then refine. After that process has been repeated several times, it’s off to the editors for their trained eyes to review.
A good editor understands the heart of their author. They have the beautiful ability to take what you’ve created and make it shine—but rarely by adding to it. Their gift is usually to delete what you’ve thought was so necessary or upgrade the language. And in doing so, the message gains greater clarity.
I can’t always say that I’ve enjoyed that part of the process, but over time, I’ve come to recognize its value—and to realize how much it mirrors God’s ways with us.
Each of us has a story and each of us is on a journey with God. ... But often, we find ourselves unhappy with how the tale of our lives is unfolding. It’s encouraging to understand that every season is a chapter, not the entire book. Just because life is not as we wish it to be now, doesn’t mean that it must remain that way forever.
But what if the upgrade to our story with God is not about needing more, but allowing an editing process to occur? What old perceptions and expectancies of our circumstances need to be deleted? What language needs to be refined to better reflect our growing understanding of the true nature of God?
What ways of seeing our lives and ourselves need to be edited out once and for all because they no longer reflect who we are and are becoming in Christ? Which patterns of thinking about God, ourselves, and others need to be removed so that the focus of our contemplations is aligned more with God’s good thoughts towards us? What fears, skepticism and uncertainties have we needlessly penciled in that Jesus has already erased?
Instead of asking the Holy Spirit what we need more of, maybe it’s time to ask Him what should go. He’s a gentle and kind editor. Sure, He has a red pen, but it’s filled with redemption, not criticism. What we often think is so essential, He perceives as limiting.
Your story with God is too valuable to contain anything but the … words that He has written about who you really are and who He really is.—Allison Bown2
Your life story
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.
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 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. …
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.—Paul Tripp3
The author of our lives
I have been writing for a couple of years now (make that seven this upcoming spring). During those years I have wrestled with characters, plots, journeys, and climaxes. I have placed obstacles before my main character so that she can grow, become stronger, and ready to face the next set of trials I have for her. Then it hit me one day. These things I do as a writer, God does with us in real life.
As the Author, God is in complete control of our lives. He knows the beginning and He knows how it’s going to end. He knows what needs to be placed in our lives to untangle that knot of sin inside of us, to make us more like His Son. He brings other people (characters) alongside of us. Some of these people help us on our journey; some of them try to hinder us. But God provides a way for us to stay on the right path.
God also knows what lies ahead of us. He will even place trials in our lives to make us stronger and ready to face the next chapter. But through the whole story, the Author (our God) is with us. He isn’t just watching our story unfold; He is guiding it, moving it along. He is intimately a part of it.
Nothing that happens to us takes God by surprise. … He’s writing the entire story. He sees how my life will intersect with the lives of others and how those meetings will change us both. Each thread in the story God is weaving together for the ultimate ending.
Every one of us is an important part of the story of Life. The story would be incomplete if even one of us is absent. So when the dark times come, know this: God sees how it’s all going to work out in the end. He has a plan and we are all a part of it. And when God writes The End, the story will be a masterpiece that will leave us in awe and bring Him glory.—Morgan L. Busse4
Published on Anchor July 2022. Read by John Laurence.
Music by Michael Dooley.