“Is the story of human history a comedy, or a tragedy?” That seemed like a rather big question for an early morning college literature class. “From creation to the last verse in Revelation, is the overall narrative of history a comedy (happy ending) or a tragedy?”
Our professor let the silence stand as we thought over how we would answer that question. In my mind, given the fact that most people will ultimately reject God and end up separated from Him in hell, that did not sound like a happy ending. I was prepared to go with “tragedy.”
After letting us wrestle with that question for a moment longer, the professor finally spoke. She simply stated, “The answer depends entirely upon who you view as the protagonist. If mankind is the main character, then history is a tragedy. If God is the main character, it is a comedy.”
Let that sink in for a moment. Talk about a paradigm shift. That moment in class has come back to my mind so many times over the years. The fact that history is not primarily about us. It is not our story. We are part of Someone else’s story. The concept that I am not the main character in my life. I am a supporting character in a Story that is infinitely bigger than me.
We get this so wrong, even as believers. We say that we want to glorify God with our lives. Often what we really mean is that we want to glorify ourselves, using God and all things Christian as a means to that end.
How can we know if we have cast ourselves as the main character? This requires a heart check. Do I insist on getting credit for what I do? Do I have to be publicly recognized for my service for it to even count? Can I celebrate when others are being used by God and recognized for it?
How would casting God in the role of protagonist change my life? Would knowing that this is not my story, but His affect how I deal with suffering? Would I be able to say, “Lord, I would not have chosen this, but I am playing a role in Your bigger story, and if this is it, then not my will, but Yours be done?” Would it affect how I respond to temptation? Would understanding that I am a small part in a bigger story help me to say no to my flesh? I believe it would.
Being the protagonist is not a role we were made for. It ruins us. It breaks us. We break other people. We have all seen high profile religious leaders who over time began to see themselves as the main character. They eventually stopped lifting the name of Jesus and began lifting their own names. The gospel of Jesus ceased being the goal and became a means to an end. Their stories end badly. Every time. Why? Because we were created to kneel before the Throne, not to sit on it. Our lives and this world exist to shout the praises and lift up One Name. The name of Jesus Christ.
This is His story. It is the story of a Bridegroom who lays down His life for His bride. It is the story of a Father who gives His Son to ransom the hearts and souls of His enemies. It is the story of a love so strong, so fierce, so unstoppable that it fights sin, hell, and death itself, and it wins. This is not a tragedy. We are living the most beautiful comedy, the most beautiful story of all.
*My blogs are written with the assumption that they are being read primarily by Christians. If you want to know more about what it means to be a Christian or about the gospel of Jesus Christ, click the link here:The Gospel