A Devotional Essay by D F Raborn
What if we decide to reflect upon our lives from the standpoint of a screenplay in which God is the main character and our lives revolve around Him in order to be part of His divine plan? Our story inside His story, so to speak. What if this screenplay or storyline involves those actors already a part of our lives and new ones we meet along the way?
A new focus: our song in relationship to God’s song~ accepting God’s desire for us to be part of His story and His song. Whatever our song is, passionately singing it while bringing our story to life in the light of His glory. In other words, “sing it strong!”
We know that, like each individual snowflake, our lives are unique and precious. And, just like the snowflake, we come from an all-powerful, Almighty, Sovereign Creator. Knowing this truth, however, is clearly not enough. We must believe this to be true. Psalm 139 affirms this and our hearts and minds allow us to acknowledge this belief. Your story matters!
As in everything there are two distinct and diverse entities. Do you ever notice this? As in every screenplay and novel there is the villain and the victor; the manipulator who designs and places obstacles; as well as the ‘over-comer’ who wins the day by surpassing conflict to get the desired goal. Our desire is to be the ‘over-comer’.
Donald Miller has written a study course where he provides a method developed by Dr. Viktor Frankl, a neurologist and psychiatrist. In real life, he is juxtaposed to the earlier Dr. Sigmund Freud, a neurologist considered to be the founder of psychoanalysis.
Each represents two very different philosophies. One, Dr Freud, who thinks the purpose of human life is self-gratification and pleasure seeking and the other, Dr Frankl, whose worldview incorporates a meaningful, purposeful life through Spirit-filled living. His method, called LogoTherapy, which literally means Spiritual Healing, is employed in Don Miller’s course called Storyline, Finding your sub-plot in God’s Story.
Dr. Viktor Frankl finds himself in German concentration camps, including Auschwitz, where many of his fellow captives succumb to suicide in the horror of their conditions. He decides to continue with his training developing strategies for these victims to pursue a meaningful life in light of their grim circumstances. This, he determines, means a relationship with a higher authority.
And I quote: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
If, ultimately, we all have a figurative ‘song to sing’ the desire is to find that song and sing it. Since we believe that we exist to enjoy a relationship with God, the Father, and please Him in so doing, how can we best jump into the light of His story?
Let me tell you about a Canadian from Dawson Creek, B.C. He is a man who thinks his song will be glorifying God through his gift of voice. However, like many, doors keep closing. He ends up cleaning after fire and floods. Until, that is, his wife (the encourager in this screenplay) enters him in a CBC singing contest. Back in 1979. And, yes, he wins!
But what changes his story is a call, shortly after, from the NY Met asking him if he’d mind taking Pavarotti’s place. You see, Pavarotti is sick with a virus and an organizer, able to see his performance at the contest in Toronto, is impressed.
The rest is history and Canada’s premiere tenor, Mr. Ben Heppner, is passionately singing his song. Alleluia!
Nathaniel Hawthorne is from early New England in the days of the ubiquitous counting house. While scribbling on his leather-writing pad, he is caught by his supervisor and summarily fired. Without pay. No unemployment line here. Going home to his wife, head on chest and hat in hand he says: “I’ve been fired”. To which she says, without skipping a beat, “Great dear, now you’ve got time to write all those books you’ve wanted to write”. You see, secretly she’d been sneaking money from the household budget, just for a time such as this. Ahh, God’s helper. Nathaniel Hawthorne went on to pen “The Scarlet Letter”; “The House of Seven Gables” and many more jewels to become one of America’s top literary giants. Alleluia!
Helen Keller, deaf, blind and initially mute, is one of the best examples of a human being finding purpose and meaning under incredibly challenging circumstances. The encourager in this amazing story is her teacher, Anne ‘Annie’ Sullivan, who discovers meaning in life through her service to a severely handicapped individual, one who went on to graduate from Radcliffe College and become an author, speaker, activist, and advocate for those with disabilities. As the story goes, when Helen first learns of Jesus Christ, her response is remarkable: “ I always knew He was there, but I didn’t know His name.”
I want to read other quotes from this inspiring, purposeful life, a life that makes us pause and takes our breath away:
“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
You will find a joy in overcoming obstacles,” she adds.
Keller also says: “I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a man-made world. Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.”
“Be of good cheer”, she says. “Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”
Regarding the Bible Ms. Keller writes: “Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations because we lack equilibrium between light and darkness. Just as all things upon earth represent and image forth all the realities of another world, so the Bible is one mighty representative of the whole spiritual life of humanity.”
And as we are searching for our song to sing, let us hear the words of appreciation from a life well lived: “Thank God for my handicaps for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”
So as our story develops in a world that needs us with our God who loves us and will never forsake us, watch for the threads that run through the theme of your life. Sing your song with the confidence of knowing that you are loved. Praise God!