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The Great Unfolding

Everyone loves a good story.

Most of us read the story from the front to the back, because we enjoy the way the plot unfolds--we love the twists and the turns and the unexpected finale.

And the thing that makes a good story good is equal parts predictability and surprise.

We have to have some structure to the story--some predictable patterns that we can pick up on in order to fully picture the setting of the character. There need to be expected points in the story where our main character meets someone else; there needs to be a moment of tension and struggle where we see the character wrestle with some inner or outer enemy.

But then there also needs to be some surprises planted along the way.

Moments where we learn something new about the character that we didn't know before. Moments where the plot takes an unexpected turn that we would not have guessed. Because, after all, if we can predict the whole thing, we might as well not read it to begin with!

Katie loves to predict the plot of Hallmark Christmas movies, and she does so with surprising accuracy! Hallmark movies make you feel good because they are predictable. They aren't necessarily good stories, but they do make you feel good.

Lord of the Rings is a good story because, not only is told well, but it contains many moments throughout that you don't think the character(s) will make it to their destination. There is predictability (they are on a quest to travel to Mordor) but there is also tension and surprise (I sure didn't see the whole spider thing coming)--to name a few. While I hope that Frodo makes it to Mordor by the end of the book, I don't find that out unless I skip to the back of the book.

I have a friend who has been leading on this scammer for weeks now, unfolding this elaborate story about his husband's death by brain surgery and about how he is going to send a care package that way, etc. I love to hear updates about the story every time I see him. He catches me up to date on how the story has progressed thus far and gives me a bit of foreshadowing about what is going to come up next in the story. It would be a lot easier of me to just catch up with my friend a few weeks from now and get the low-down on the whole thing at one time, but the fact of the matter is--I love a good story! I love to see it unfold.

That's what makes baseball so great.
I would save myself hours upon hours of nail-biting panic attacks if I just tuned in to the news the next morning instead of listening to the play-by-play on 700WLW. For that matter, I wouldn't even have to worry about whether the Reds will make the playoffs if I just picked up a newspaper in November to see who won the World Series and what all the teams final standings were.

But that doesn't provide the enjoyment of baseball! The thing that makes baseball the greatest sport ever is the suspense of each and every play. The 20 seconds between every pitch that could be the outcome of each game. And thus baseball is a multi-billion dollar sport--because people love to watch/listen to the game live, as it unfolds!

I think that God created the Great Unfolding because He feels the same way (I mean, we are made in His image after all, right?).
I think God could have made us to be predestined to do everything that we do, we could have no self-will, no independence and no freedom of choice. God could flip to the end of the book and see what happens with each of our stories or to see the end story of mankind in general (as He kind of did with Noah) but no.
God chose to make us unique, write a different story for each of us, and I think He loves to observe how we either follow that story predictably or stray from it in a surprising fashion (can God be surprised?).

I think we were created to play a part of God's story for humankind. God has this great story that He is slowly unfolding through the ages and we play a small role in it. We can read back to the beginning of the story, and we can get caught up to where we are today, but unlike Moby Dick or Lord of the Rings, there is no way to flip to the end to see how the story finishes. We are caught up in the here and now of the story and God takes great delight in it. We were created to bring God delight as He interacts with the story He created.

And this...this is the Great Unfolding.


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