Taking advantage of one of those $5 DVD bins at a department store, I recently picked up a movie I had been wanting to watch. After viewing the film, I began to explore the menu and the Special Features. There were numerous choices: Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, “The making of...” documentary, and Interviews with the Actors. Most fascinating to me, however, were the Alternate Endings. After viewing the deleted scenes and the alternate endings, questions began to roll around in my mind as to why these particular clips did not make the final cut.
Upon further scrolling, I came across a Director’s Commentary option. Turning it on, I was able to rewatch the deleted scenes and the alternate endings, this time, with the luxury of hearing from the director himself.
As he explained his rationale for removing segments, things began to make sense. My strong opinions began to soften as he articulated his heart behind his actions. Aligning my thinking with his wisdom, I began to understand why some scenes that initially had value, essentially did not. My empathy deepened as he explained why, out of all the alternatives, he chose the ending that made the final cut. It was clear that this was neither an easy nor a thoughtless path. Ultimately, without the director’s commentary, I would have been full of my own opinions. I would have missed the big picture (pardon the pun)!
That experience prompted a season of spiritual reflection. In those quiet moments, I was reminded of scenes, dramatic segments so to speak, in my faith journey where I didn't have the luxury of the Director’s Commentary. In the pain of divine silence, it became easy to replay those scenes, incessantly repeating the monologue of “Why?” Bowing down to the idol of my intellect, I demanded my “right” to have an answer. Immersed in the folly of thinking a finite creature could fully comprehend the actions of an infinite God, I forfeited the grace that could have been mine (Jonah 2:8 NIV).
If you are thinking, "Me too," I want you to know that there is hope. When we are dogged by the "Why?" question, God invites us to release our grip on our perceived “right” to receive an answer and to instead, cling to the Hand of Grace extended to us. The Holy Spirit can free us from being preoccupied with a "need to know" to being captivated by the presence of Christ. Beloved, our truest fulfillment is not found in the short-term contentment of an answered question, but rather in the impenetrable refuge of intimacy with the Omniscient One whose love is "unbroken and unrelenting" (Psalm 103:17 TPT).
Hear the kind intentionality of the Director’s heart speaking over those scenes in your life for which you do not have an answer. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 41:10, 55:8-9).
In joyful surrender, take a moment to exhale. Then like the prodigal, fall into the Father's arms and “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one that the Lord loves, rests between his shoulders” (Deuteronomy 33:12).
Today, may you discover God’s perfect peace as you rest, upheld (physically, emotionally, and spiritually), in the everlasting arms of the One whose endless love "stretches from one eternity to the other." For indeed, He will "keep every gracious promise" He's made to you (Psalm 103:17 TPT).
Thanks be to God.
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