"God, I'm angry!" I screamed. "I hate this. If you were a loving God, you wouldn’t let me suffer like this."
"If I were a loving God?"
"Yes, can't you see I'm hurting here? Can you not see my pain? Why won't you do something?"
"Here," he said. "Take it." He opened his hand and there lay a red ink pen.
"I don’t understand," I stammered.
"I'm giving you editing rights."
"Editing rights?" I questioned.
"Yes, here’s the manuscript. Go ahead, edit it." I wrapped my arms around the document and nearly fell under its weight. I trudged across the room and dropped it on the desktop. I flipped to the title page and gasped. There at the top of the page was my name.
"Is this…?" I questioned.
"It's your life. Go ahead, edit."
I picked up the red pen and thoughtfully tapped my chin, considering where to start. I decided to start simple with Junior High track. I hated it. I had begged my dad, "Please let me quit. I hate it. Running is hard and my side hurts. I'm always the last one in."
"No, you can't quit. You made a commitment to the coach and to your teammates. You have to stick it out," he said. Dad held to his guns on that one even as he watched me come in last with every race, tears streaming down my face.
I made a move to scratch out that segment. "Are you sure you want to take that out?" God asked. "Look ahead."
I flipped ahead until a flash of yellow caught my eye. Turning back a few pages, I found the imposing section and read. I saw those tough college assignments coming at me. I read about the Economics course I hated and the Ethics class where I had to write an essay every week. I wanted to throw in the towel on those classes, but I didn't. I persevered and passed both of them with Bs. "I guess I'll leave Junior High track in after all," I said. "The perseverance served me well."
I read on. Painful memories pierced my heart. A weekend fight between my parents leaped off the page. Tears clouded my eyes as I recalled the screaming, violence, and fear. With clenched teeth, I gripped the pen urgently desiring to scratch away those painful memories. A fluorescent orange raced across the page and my pen froze in midair. "Dear Jesus," I read, "help my mom and dad. Bring them to you Jesus." I turned to face the Lord. "Those were my prayers," I said.
"Turn the page," he replied.
I obeyed and read on. Mom and Dad walked in my room with my brother and sister. Dad had a Bible. "Years ago, your mom and I served God," said Dad. "We've gotten away from that. From now on, we're going to live as a Christian family, and we're starting tonight with family devotions."
"You learned the value of prayer, my daughter."
I wiped tears from my eyes. "I guess I should leave that fight in there," I whispered.
I continued on to the day we left our home. My twelve year old mind didn't understand foreclosure. Most of my possessions were in storage. Our camper became my parents' bedroom while my best friend's family camper became our dining room and sleeping quarters for my two siblings and I. "What good came out of that God? Can I take that out? I mean, really. I was in Junior High and that was so embarrassing. Losing our home was painful."
"You can," he said, but his eyes pierced my soul, and I knew that I had to read ahead.
This time, bright pink covered the page. After reading I looked up. "I learned compassion for the poor," I said. "I guess that trial has to stay as well."
I continued on, pondering each adversity and finding reason after reason to leave them all in place. Through each one a valuable lesson was learned that served me well over the course of my life. I developed strength, tenacity, love, and reliance on God.
I turned to the back and saw empty pages. "What will be here God?" I asked.
"Trust me," he replied.
"Forgive me Lord," I said holding out the red pen. "You're a much better editor than I." God smiled and pulled me into his embrace, and I knew that although hardship may visit me again, it will all be well in the end.
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