One of my favorite experiences as an elder is listening to testimonies from people in the New Members Class. I love hearing stories of the beautiful ways God has worked in people’s lives. The testimonies are beautiful in and of themselves as they stand alone, a singular point in time and history, but when I think about how they fit into God’s bigger picture, they are even more beautiful and a stronger witness to what God is building. God is building something that transcends time and space, a feat that only God can accomplish.

My mother loves to put together big colorful puzzles. As she looks at each of the pieces, they are truly beautiful in hue and in unique shape. However, they make sense and are only truly beautiful when seen as part of a whole as they are purposefully placed together. In this world, I cannot see the whole until it is completely assembled, but as God puts together his story, he knows and sees the bigger picture and how it all fits beautifully together.

This bigger picture not only transcends my limited earthly view, but it also transcends time. Only God can orchestrate a narrative that transcends time. In 1 Corinthians 3:10, Paul talks about being a part of the building process. He acknowledges his part and our part, building throughout time on the foundation laid by Christ.

Toward the end of his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Eugene Peterson points out that when I share my story or when I listen to the testimonies of others, it is not how God fits into my story. It is how I fit into God’s story. I am not beyond the scope of time and space, but God is. I will wither and fade but God’s plan and purposes are eternal. God has a plan for me individually and a plan for us corporately. God is writing his story, history. Because of God’s work on the cross, I get to be a part of a bigger story that is even more beautiful than my singular story. I get to be a part of that story because of his work on the cross. That is not only beautiful but it is purposeful and eternal.

Lord, thank you for giving deeper and broader meaning to my story because it is part of your story. As I live out the story you have planned for me, and as I encounter the stories of others, help me to see each one in light and in view of your plan and purposes. Your kingdom story is a vantage point that is infinitely more beautiful.

Rich Bell
Global Outreach Council

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