Your coherent narrative is the story of your life. It’s usually chronological . . . starting with where and how you grew up and the big things that happened to you leading to big changes in you. Then, where you are now, and where you see yourself going from here.
It starts with remembering. In his book The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan says, “To remember is, literally, to put broken pieces back together, to re-member. It is to create an original wholeness out of what has become scattered fragments.” To dis-member something is to take it apart, to re-member is the opposite.
And the most important piece you decide to put in . . . or leave out . . . is God. Was He in your story? Where was He involved? Is He in it now?
I’m one of those nut cakes who believes God is in my story big time! His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence mean He’s there throughout. By definition, everything came through His hands. He either made it happen or, most often, allowed it to happen. Sure, he gave me free will . . . to love, sin, wonder, lie, repent, care, learn, struggle, fail, and surrender. There’s purpose and meaning, even in painful times. If God’s not in my story, life is out of control. If He is, it all makes sense. It comes down to Romans 8:28 . . .
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
God uses everything. He wastes nothing. Not too long ago, I heard someone tell their story, and I just wanted to bawl. It was so sad . . . a story of loneliness, betrayal, and shattered dreams. Later, I heard the same person tell their story with God in it and thought, “Wow, that’s amazing.” Each version of the story was real. I could have believed either one. But I was left wondering which version they really believe . . . which version they tell themselves when they’re alone. Is God in their story? Or is it them, their decisions, the decisions of others, and fate writing the script?
There’s a version of everyone’s coherent narrative that includes God and one that doesn’t. The version you believe . . . the story you tell yourself affects everything . . . your outlook, attitude, relationships, confidence, your peace, and your hope (or lack thereof). It shapes how you see God.
Is God in your story? Isn’t it more logical . . . more helpful . . . more worshipful . . . more glory-giving to ‘figure Him in’ than to spend the rest of your life futilely trying to ‘figure Him out’?