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The Story of Your Life
Posted: 2014-02-02 11:02:13 by: David Nelson
The Story of Your Life by David Nelson (1-29-14)
In the last few months I have thought about a story, a play, a movie that I have seen several times. I will tell you the name of the story later in this writing but maybe you will guess what it is before I am through? Here are some observations and thoughts I have had from hearing this story. See how it all has to do with the story of each one of our lives.
It does not matter whether you are called to serve God at 10 years of age, 20, 40, or 80, what matters is that God can use you for His purposes and that He can accomplish all that He desires to accomplish through you. When your work on earth is done and He has directed your life and gifts for everything He wants to do you can be satisfied that you have done all that He has planned for you.
Sometimes we may spend many years going through various trials or you may even feel that you have “not been used” fully. It is not clear to you as yet God’s plans or purposes for you? Why have you had to go through so many trials? But we must trust in Him and these promises, that He said He would never leave us till the end of the world, that He would guide us by His Holy Spirit every day and lead us into His paths of righteousness for His name sake, that He always loves us and is always in control, and we must learn to trust Him completely and trust His guidance of our lives even when things make little sense to us.
Some may develop in their spirits a bitterness or an anger over the hard things that God has allowed them to go through. But could it be that our Lord is more concerned about the development of our character, He is changing us that we might become more like our Lord, and that He is not as much concerned about how much we have accomplished? The Lord wants to create more patience in us and more compassion, more kindness and more of the fruits of the Spirit. How He does this may be sometimes painful as we weather through life changing experiences.
There was a man who came to the Lord when he was about 40 years old. He had only experienced pain and hate and a brutal prison life for the last 20 years. When he was released from prison at 40 years of age a Minister gave him a word from the Lord, that his life was claimed for God, to serve the Lord for the rest of his life. That his soul was saved and that he would now be blessed by God. This man struggled to believe, “God wants me? I am nothing! All I have ever known is pain and hate, how can I believe that God loves me and has claimed my soul for Himself?” But he did give his life to God and God blessed him over the next 10 years of his life. The Lord gave him a very good job, money, good success, much respect he felt that there was changed by God, this man always tried to help others, poor beggars on the street, anyone in need because he had been hated and abandoned he now wanted to encourage those who felt abandoned like he had felt. And because God had blessed him so much he wanted to bless others in need. One day he helped a lady who was down and out, living in poverty in the dregs of society, she had an 8 year old daughter (no husband) who was being cared for by a couple who ran an Inn. These Inn-keepers were dishonest, down and dirty, and had been mean to her daughter but the lady sent as much money as she could each week to help them support and take care of her daughter. One day the man saw the lady in her plight (not knowing that he was partly to blame for her hard situation, she was fired from the factory he owned, when he might have been able to prevent it), she was also quite ill, but he pledged to take her to a hospital and take care of her life from now on, and also find her daughter and take care of her too. As he carried her from the wretched place she was in to a hospital he felt that there was a new calling being birthed in him that the Lord wanted him to do.
This lady had a dream that her life was going to be good and happy and imagined for herself the best things that any normal lady could hope for herself. But her life turned out to be pretty miserable and much different than she had hoped for. Her dreams and hopes were broken and had not come into flower but she still hoped and dreamed a little that maybe things would turn for the better some day. Her dreams were broken but abandoned completely, she still had a little hope.
Isn’t this true of many others also? People all around us, maybe even we ourselves have had a dream for our lives that has not yet come to be. Maybe the Lord’s purposes for us have come to pass to some extent but is there more for us so that our lives will fully accomplish all God has planned for us? Will some or all of our hopes and dreams for ourselves come to pass?
And so this man (let us call his name Jean Valjean from the story “Les Miserables”) watched over the lady at the hospital (let us call her name Fantine) but she was getting worse with each passing hour. In the last hours before she passed away Jean Valjean assured her that he would look for and find her young daughter (let us call her name Cosette) and care for her as a father, and that the little girl would never want for anything again for the rest of her life. The lady (Fantine) now knew in the last moments of her life that God in heaven had sent this kind man to care for and raise her daughter so she could die knowing that the daughter she loved so much would be in good hands.
Could this be the one thing in life that Valjean was called to do, to be a father and a mother to this little girl? He was 50, he would not have a wife in the future (because of various circumstances to be mentioned later), but he would find this little girl and fill her life with love and care. Suddenly a great love and purpose came into his life too.
Now, it is 10 years later, Cosette has become a beautiful 18 year old and he is now 60 years old. He has loved her, protected her, educated her, but he is now realizing that he is getting older and that one day he will pass on and she naturally will be attracted to some young man and he can’t keep her forever.
(Also, Valjean’s whole life from the time he was 40 till he was 60 he has had to run from the law because he had to break parole and change his name to start a new life, become successful, and raise Cosette. This is a theme in the story I did not explore with you for the sake of time, but Valjean’s run from the law his whole life and the hardships this caused him made it much more challenging to raise Cosette. Valjean was always on edge that he would be sent back to prison. Was it fair of the law to think he was a bad man and to follow the letter of the law, what about mercy and forgiveness and that his life had changed? The tension between the strictness of the law in the person of the police inspector Javert pursuing Valjean his whole life, in opposition to the ideas of mercy and forgiveness can clearly be seen throughout the story of “Les Miserables” if you should see the entire play or movie. How hard it was to raise Cosette on the run, to not be able to tell her the truth for so long, and how thankful Valjean was at the end of his life to have accomplished all he did for God through such hardships.)
When Valjean sees that Cosette is falling in love with a young man (let us name him Marius), the father struggles over this. It is hard for him to let go of the daughter so precious to his heart. The young man (Marius) is part of the people’s revolt in Paris during the French Revolution (early 1800s). He is in danger for his life as he works with others to fight for freedom from poverty against the French government and its soldiers. But he and Cosette are still in love.
In one particular battle in the streets of Paris our 60 year old father (Jean Valjean) is able to see the battle conditions and the danger to the young man Marius. And so with a struggle still in his heart Valjean prays for Marius. Valjean had always prayed his whole life whenever he faced hard decisions (since he was saved 20 years ago). He has always wanted to do the right thing, the kind thing, to help people, and now he must let go of his daughter and ask God to save Marius, to keep him alive, and bring him home to his daughter, will the Lord have mercy and do this for his daughter? Then it so happened that Valjean found a way to be close to a battle in the streets of Paris where all the revolutionary fighters were going to be slaughtered and killed and the young man Marius was there too. Marius was badly wounded but the 60 year old Valjean carried him to safety and saved his life.
Happily, some months later, Marius married Cosette. But Jean Valjean had fallen sick and was soon about to pass on to be with the Lord himself. On Cosette and Marius’ wedding day they went to see their sick father (Jean) who was such a hero to them both. Jean Valjean now knew and felt in his heart that his time had come and he was ready to be with the Lord. They all knew that he had done such a great thing in raising and caring for Fantine’s daughter (Cosette), had brought her out of misery, had saved Marius for his daughter at the risk of his own life. Jean Valjean had helped and been kind to many people in his life. He was a shining light of the love of Jesus. All would be well now, the two married ones were launched and he had done all the Lord had for him to do, he was satisfied, and then Valjean passed on to be with the Lord. This is the story written by Victor Hugo entitled “Les Miserables.”
There are many other beautiful themes that run throughout the story that I have not gone into, but I chose a few truths to share with you. At the end of the movie as Jean Valjean had passed on from this life he was greeted lovingly by others who had gone on before who had also completed their purpose in life before him. It was also said, “He who has loved a person has seen the face of God.” Jean Valjean had learned after 40 years of hate how to love others because of the great change God had wrought in his life. He also had accomplished (through great hardship) all of God’s purposes and plans God had for his life. When all was accomplished he and the Lord were ready for him to go home to be with Lord he loved, longed to be with, and faithfully served.
A beautiful quote that I saw just the other day but I did not get a hold of the author or the exact wording, said this, “A music symphony is like a person’s life, do not judge the value or beauty of a symphony till you have heard the whole thing including the very last notes. Likewise, do not judge the value or beauty of any person’s life until they have completed all their tasks including their last day and their last hour.” (And you may have to hear God’s side to fully understand)
So many times I have noticed that the last minute or even the last few seconds of a movie tie everything together and fully express the real meaning of the story in the movie. Often too we will be surprised and pleased at how well the whole story makes sense and causes us to see the whole picture of our lives when it is all finished. God has a plan for each of us, He is the master craftsman and artist who has been forming our character and leading us in all His purposes and our accomplishments so that in the end it will be, “Well done, My good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things (you have done all I needed and desired), enter now into the joy of your Lord.” (Matt. 25:21)