When Life Is Not Like Literature

As a lifelong reader and an English major and an over-thinker in general, I have learned not only to read books, but also to analyze them–to ponder them until I’ve basically memorized their messages (I do the same thing with songs!).
The subtitle of my blog is “the ups and downs in literature and life.” In some posts, I’ll discuss literature; in others, just living daily life. A lot of the time, however, I’ll mix the two together. Something I’m living through might remind me of something I’ve read, so I’ll share it–and vice versa.
I’ve come to a point in life when I want life to be more like literature. I’ve come to look for literary elements in life–symbolism, theme, and most definitely foreshadowing. I think, Surely this event means that I can look forward to (or dread, depending on the situation) another event occurring in the future. But life doesn’t work life that. Literature can speak to life and vice versa, but literature has been made up by imperfect human beings who are purposely braiding elements of a story together to send a certain message. Life is so much more.
If I had to choose a life verse, it would be Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
One reason this speaks to me so much is that I am always trying to understand. To seek some explanation for why something has happened (or not happened) or for why I feel a certain way. But my understanding of life is too often tied to the symbolism and themes that have been created by men. These devices are often good, but they are limited.
Isaiah 55:8-9 says:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
As much as I try to understand and explain away, my understanding and explanations will never be perfect–because God’s ways are not limited to literary devices. These devices are but an iota of his understanding. Last Sunday in church, my pastor read the following quote by Charles Spurgeon:
“The sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which the child of God rests his head at night, giving perfect peace.”
No matter how much I search, I cannot find the original source of this quote (which drives me crazy–so if you know it, please let me know!). But the message is so comforting. I may wrestle with trying to understand, but ultimately I can peacefully accept that God’s will will work itself out, even if I don’t understand what’s going on. I don’t have to understand because the God who understands all is in control.


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