I just finished reading someone else’s diary.
Well, it was really called a journal, and it wasn’t like I was snooping. Although it felt like it at times.
This is the second time I’ve read through The Journals of Jim Elliot, a lengthy (480 pages!) compilation of personal entries starting in his college years. His widow, Elisabeth, published it some 46 years after his death at the hands of Auca Indians.
He wrote about things he learned in his quiet times and Bible classes. He wrote of his struggle about whether or not to marry Elisabeth. He wrote about his passion for God and his feelings of inadequacy. He wrote about his love for the people of Ecuador. It was all very intense and honest.
Of course it was intense and honest. It was his journal.
He might not have intended for anyone else to read it, much less have it become so public, but there is something fascinating and moving about reading someone’s thoughts and words when you know how his story ended. You can see the thread God was weaving in his life and see that even random musings and events had a purpose and a part in what God was ultimately going to require of him.
It made me think about the things that happen in my life. And while I don’t journal everything, I do try to write down the things God is showing me, the things I don’t understand, the things I’m passionate about. And I do like to go back and read my past entries and see them in light of what God is doing and what requiring of me today.
Tolstoy, I believe, once wrote that between the lines of what we write in a journal is the outline of our future. (Gordon T. Smith)
I’m glad I journal. But don’t bet on them getting published someday. I don’t think I want to be that transparent to the public. Yet if I can look back over my notebooks and papers and recorded thoughts and share with others how God has indeed been orchestrating an amazing story in my life, I’ll have a glimpse of the plan.
Because as I’ve said so many times before, God always has a plan.
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Genesis 50:20
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2
That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:7