We tend to see our lives in "before and after." Our life before we got in shape and after we started working out; our life as a child and after we become an adult; our life when we were single and after we got married; our life before having kids and after; our life before Jesus...and after.
It's a pattern through which we separate and distinguish the milestones of our personal history. But what if Jesus doesn't see our life in these terms? What if Jesus sees His story laced through our own? And what if we came to view our life in this way as well? It just might change everything...
Recently, I just finished reading Olympian David Boudia's book Greater Than Gold. What amazed me most about his personal story wasn't just the thread of redemption that wove through it all...but the fact that, as a Christian now, David seeks to view his past in light of a Providential plan. Even the ugly parts, the shameful parts, the dark places...even those are brought to view with the perspective that God was still leading - God was still guiding - God was still pursuing. God was not absent. David will admit that, while his own heart was far from the Savior, the Savior wasn't far from him but was still directing him to the paths that would ultimately lead to his saving. The Gospel still showed up...even when David didn't see it.
I think of my own story...and I realize that, like most, I've seen the chapters in "before and after." What I need is to welcome Him into all of the parts...even the ones that I'd rather forget. Because He was there in those chapters too...even when I didn't see Him. Even when I didn't care. And when I share my journey with others, I can't leave Him out and then just add Him in at the time when I suddenly became aware of His presence and grace. My awakening may not have come for awhile...but the always-existent God walked through those trials with me and knows even more about it all than I ever can or will. Should I not honor Him now for that simple comforting truth?
Before I ever breathed my first breath, the Beginning and the End was. He always was. He always will be. And so my story is in reality His-story. Not mine. All that have or ever will be is His gift. His loan to me for me to give back to Him. He stamped His image on me (and on every created being on this planet) and will never stop His relentless pursuit of our souls. His purpose continues to be worked out in this world and in us...even during the before Jesus moments. And once He allows us to see ourselves and to see Him for who they truly are, it is then up to us to backup...and re-tell our story with new voice. New eyes. New heart.
For that is the true "good news": this life isn't about us in the first place. We are simply the part-players in His grand design for human history.
Whatever twists and turns your story has taken...even the harsh ones...remember that when redemption arrives, when the saving happens, when the miracle of renewal occurs in you...Jesus desires for you to embrace the whole of your story and come to see it as His. So let's not walk from here carrying the split-view of a "before and after." Instead, let's pray for a change of perspective so that the whole of our lives becomes about His life and His miracle. His saving. His making new of all things...including us.