Life is a story. More than anything else. It weaves and turns through plots and chapters. Characters enter and others leave. Foreshadowing hints at what is around the turn. Your life is an ever-evolving story. There are moments when this seems so clear.
I remember one moment in my life that seemed to slow down like it was in a movie. It plays back in my mind as if it is projected on the big screen. I was on a mission trip to Chicago working with an inner city church. We were going door-to-door on the west side of town inviting everyone to a movie at the church building. Things were going well. Myself and the man who was assigned with me has visited a lot of homes and talked with a lot of neighborhood people. Then, as we stood on the corner of a busy street waiting for the light to change, he asked me a question that still challenges me to this day.
"Why are you here?" As a college summer missionary, I had heard that question so many times. I knew what to say. I told him that I was there to help churches in the area and to grow in my relationship with Christ. He didn't want my predictable answer. "Sure, that's good, but why are you here?" I wasn't following.
As recall him beginning to explain, the camera in my mind swirls around revealing all the details, all the people. They had been by-standers, extras in my story. Now, they were the focus. They were the stars. "Why are you here ... for this city, for these people, for the lady across the street trying to get her groceries home, for the young guys we just played basketball with in the alley behind their house, for the young men we passed trapped in a life of drugs and gangs? What are you going to do for them? Why has God brought you here for them?"
The camera swings around and zooms in on my stunned, speechless face. Why was I there? How was I so self-concerned? That moments haunts me, shakes me, challenges me, encourages me to never be so focused on my own little world and forget the stories going on around me.
When reading the life story of Noah recorded in Genesis, I was struck by how one of his chapters ended - both a chapter in the text and a chapter in his life. At that moment, I decided that I want that ending for this chapter of my life - "Noah did everything just as God had commanded him."
Now obviously, Noah was not perfect, but according to Scripture he was righteous even though those around him were not. God chose him to build a boat, which would save he and his family, despite there being no imminent flood danger. After completing that task, the Bible simply states for that chapter of his life Noah did everything just as God had commanded him.
Imagine that. Imagine concluding a pivotal chapter of your life and having that sentence be the summation of those days. That's my desire. If I made New Year's resolutions, this would be it. I want to end this chapter in my life and head into the next with the statement that I did everything just as God had commanded me. Sure, I will make mistakes, but the the overall trajectory and emphasis of my life should have been in obedience to Christ and glorifying God.
So, that's how I want my chapter to end? What about you, how do you want this next period of your life to be summed up?