Laurie Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope found in Jesus. She is the author of Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness, an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God. Her story was featured in Billy Graham’s film, Heaven, as well as on many other national and regional radio and television programs. She is a contributor to Zondervan’s NIV Bible for Women and writes at LaurieCoombs.org. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their three daughters.
I’ve been immersed in the story God entrusted to me over the last several months. I have been finishing my book, which will be released fall 2015. But as I've written, as I've poured myself into my story once again, I've been able to take hold of one of its main themes in a new, deeper way. Here's the truth: God’s plan for our lives is greater than anything we could hope for.
I’d be lying if I told you life is easy. I’d be lying if I told you you will never see tragedy or pain in your own life. Heck, I’d be lying to myself if I said all my difficulties are in my past. Truth is, life is hard. Jesus tells us in this life “you will have many trials and sorrows.” It’s pretty much a guarantee. “But,” Jesus says, “take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
My story has not always been an easy one to accept. My story began with a tragedy. With the loss of my dad. For years, I longed to author my own story. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could go back and just erase all the messy stuff in our pasts? I thought. Like a judge, we could just “strike ‘that’ from the record” of our lives.
All the little struggles growing up? “Strike that.”
My sister’s disabilities? “Strike that.”
All my poor choices? “Strike that.”
My parents’ divorce? “Strike that.”
All the times I hurt others? “Strike that.”
All the times others hurt me? “Strike that.”
And of course, Dad’s murder? “Strike that.”
Here’s the thing, though, about authoring our own stories: Our stories would stink! You know what’s awesome about God? What makes Him uniquely qualified to author our stories for us?
He’s omniscient (all-knowing).
He’s omnipotent (able to do anything).
He’s omnipresent (in all places at all times).
He’s immutable (unchanging).
He’s holy (completely set apart; worthy of all worship; perfect in goodness).
He’s righteous (just).
He’s sovereign (has complete control).
And He’s merciful.
And this is to only name a few. Once we grasp what all of this really means, I think we stop trying to fight our stories, and instead, we can finally trust our loving God and embrace the story He ordains for our lives.
The story God entrusted to me is far richer than anything I could hope for. And even though it took me eleven years to come to this point, I truly do embrace my story. I don’t want to strike anything from the record of my life, including my dad’s death. Now, that’s not to say I don’t miss him terribly. I do. Every day I miss my dad. But God has shown me perspective. He’s allowed me to see and understand His purpose in my pain.
It turns out, all was grace.
And just as He promises, I have seen God work all things in my life for good. Honestly, I never thought it possible to see any good come out of my past, let alone to see good emerge out of my dad’s murder. I mistakenly thought any good in my future would result in spite of my past not as a result of my past. Yet, I had grossly underestimated the redeeming power of God.
So, as grace poured out upon me––as I witnessed true redemption––I began to entrust my story more and more to God, knowing His plan is always the best plan.