The first time I watched The Matrix, I saw it at my friend Ben Gamoke’s house. The people I was watching it with had already seen the movie (some several times), and in an effort to prevent boredom and to not waste time, we skipped forward to Neo’s release from the Matrix.
Although I wouldn’t have admitted it while it was happening, I’ve spent years seeing my life much as that of the first part of The Matrix: something boring to be gotten through in order to see to the good parts; and certainly I lived it that way.
This last week I volunteered to share my testimony at the men's group I attend on Wednesday nights. However, I was asked to share it in a different way than I had ever shared it before: as a scene in God's story where He is the protagonist instead of myself. My life then fit into God's story as a smaller anecdote that adds depth to the overall meaning of what is happening.
As God would have it, during my quiet time on Tuesday, the day that I wrote my testimony, I read Genesis 22:20-24 which tells of the fact that Abraham's brothers started having kids. At first, it seemed like a rather uneventful side note to what God was doing in the world through the life of Abraham. Then it hit me: while the passage seemed to be inconsequential to me, God put it in the story for a specific purpose, which is still unknown to me. GOD'S STORY HAS NO MEANINGLESS SCENES: He uses all things, the good, the bad, the indifferent, for the good of those who love Him and His glory.
As I wrote about memories from my childhood and traumatic experiences from later on in life I realized there is much of my life that I'd like to forget.
Last Saturday was 5 years to the day since I witnessed a fatal shooting in Costa Rica. Its a memory I've tried hard to forget. As i processed through the memory itself and the emotions it brought up I realized that for 5 years I have been blaming myself for that man's death because I had been powerless to keep him from dying. God then showed me that if it weren’t for that night and the powerlessness I felt in that moment, I would have never started on the path that I'm on of becoming a doctor and having healing be my vocation.
I'm starting to see that God has helped me dream again. I no longer see myself as a powerless, unlovable, little boy but as a man who has the capacity and ability to be loved and love others. He’s taking all my memories, even the ones I’d like to forget completely and showing me how they fit into the story of Him redeeming me, my character, and the world that surrounds me to the way He intended them to be.
God's story, including life, has no meaningless scenes.