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The past few weeks, I’ve been reading a novel by Wiley Cash called The Last Ballad. It’s a novel based on a true story about a woman with the courage to fight for herself and her family during labor strikes in North Carolina in the late 1920’s.
Cash’s writing embraces the Southern narrative tradition. Meandering prose unfurls a long yarn that seems simple on the surface but is, in fact, calculated and complex. At one point in the narrative, I found myself wondering where on earth this tale was going. It wasn’t a bad thing–I wasn’t straining toward the finish, eager to put this novel aside and pick up something different. I wasn’t concerned or holding my breath in suspense. I just couldn’t see how the pieces were going to fit together. Normally, I must confess, this irks me. As a reader, I want to know that the author can resolve the conflict in a manner that is satisfying. There’s nothing worse than coming to the end of a book and being disappointed. That’s why I often skip to the end of a book to ensure that the resolution will be worth the journey there. But, as I pondered the ultimate resolution of events in The Last Ballad, I realized that I didn’t need to read ahead. Somehow along the way, Wiley Cash gained my trust as an author. I knew I could faithfully follow his narrative through to the end, even if I didn’t know the exact route it would take.
I think there’s a similar trust that needs to exist between God and the Created. God is the author of Creation. As such, he knows how the story ends. While the journey to resolution can seem long and winding, we must trust that God will make it satisfactory. Indeed, God has promised us a satisfactory resolution. God sent Jesus to triumph over death. Jesus forged the path of salvation and perfected it within us when he took the mantle of sin from our shoulders and carried it to realm of the Dead. God, through Jesus, brought restoration to our souls.
And yet, the journey doesn’t end there, for Revelation promises restoration for Creation.
When it comes to God as Author, it’s not a brand-new story. We know the end, because God told it to us long ago. And yet, so often we still struggle to trust our journey to God. We don’t like the detours, the introduction of new characters, the meandering through desert places. We want a clear-cut path from point A to point B. But, my friends, that path is uninspiring, for it’s in the detours and desert places that we come to know God’s strength. It’s through the introduction of new characters that we come to know God’s love. God is a trustworthy Author. He is invested in his Creation, more so than we are, and he knows how the story unfolds.
This week, I encourage you to stop trying to come up with a plan. Instead, embrace the journey you are on, and trust in God’s ability to lead you through.
Blessings and Peace,