Imagine yourself curled up in a cozy chair at Starbucks, laptop flipped open to a blank page in your word processor. You begin by typing two words: “My… Life.”
Long pause. You really should make this count, with the stakes being so high and all.
Yeah. See, ten minutes ago Jesus Christ himself had been sitting directly across from you in the other cozy chair. Leaning forward with a creator’s gleam in his eyes, he posed a question:
“How would you like to write the script for the next five years of your life?”
“Abram and Sarai laughed too, when I made them their crazy offer.” He smiles.
You smile too, until you remember the story, recall it involved a baby. “Uh, are you messing with my head?”
“Often, yes. But seriously. Open your laptop.”
Out comes the laptop. You open it. Fire it up. All ears.
“Now: I’m quite serious,” Jesus says. “I’m giving you the authority to write the script—in point form, obviously—for the next five years of your life. Be careful what you type, because when you hit ‘save,’ that’s it. It’ll be locked in. Your next five years will (among other things) include the bullet points you’ve just added. Got it?”
Breathless, you attempt a nod.
With that, he disappeared.
Leaving you staring at the pixelated screen, stomach in knots, afraid to type the next words.
Quite the scenario, isn’t it? What would you write? What would you dare? I have a few great ideas for my life:
“And then Brad won the twelve million dollar jackpot in the lottery—without buying a ticket of course, because Christians shouldn’t play the lottery.”
“Brad never had a migraine again.”
“His son, Noah, was apprenticed by Peter Jackson for the movie industry immediately following High School.”
“Brad and his family never got sick, were universally loved and cherished, and his church grew by 1000% (entirely conversion growth). Even more amazing, his children never had an argument and always did their chores without being asked. They became miracle working prodigies for the kingdom of God and converted half of the city using nothing but Facebook.”
And especially, “His book manuscript was embraced and heralded as more powerful than the Shack, the Purpose-Driven Life, and the Prayer of Jabez combined. And changed the world in six months, ushering in a new era of peace and joy.”
I can think of a few things I wouldn’t include: Sickness. Struggle. Evil. Disappointment. Grief. Loss. Pain. Cancer. Death. Detours. Conflict. Failure. Not even bad breath.
And I certainly wouldn’t have scripted yesterday the way it played out. Yeah, I heard back from David Kopp, the editor from Multnomah I’m working with on this project (David is known as a gifted and successful giant in the biz). Yesterday he pitched my project to editorial. They loved my writing, my voice, my concept… but turned me down (in part, because my platform isn’t big enough). End of the road.
No, I wouldn’t have chosen that.
Neither would I have written, “But wait… David so believed in Brad’s project, so believed in Brad that he offered to work with him unofficially to explore a new approach to the book and maybe pitch it again in the future.” So the road hasn’t ended, not exactly. I’m still partnered with a gifted mentor. It wouldn’t have written that, couldn’t have foreseen that. This is partly what the scriptures mean when they say God’s thoughts are not like our thoughts, that his ways aren’t like our ways.
As I reflect on this, my perspective widens. When I picture telling this story in the future, I can imagine relishing this plot twist: “Who would have thought God would use that closed door to direct me toward… which led to… and then…?” Come to think of it, the fairy tale bullet points for my life would make for a really boring read. The dead ends, the conflict, the risks—they’re all part of living a great story.
God’s authorial power and voice is brilliant, masterful, epic. I choose to go with him. To cooperate with the Author. To live in sync with his story and explore this good, perfect, and pleasing path.
No matter where it leads.