Summarising Your Life in Six Words — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Summarising Your Life in Six Words — Morning Devotions

The average person speaks over 7,000 words a day. Is it possible to summarise your life in 6 words? What would you say?

By Chris WittsThursday 19 Jan 2023Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Ernest Hemingway was a remarkable man who had a gift with words. He was a newspaper journalist and reporter in the early to mid 1950s and will be remembered for successful novels like For Whom the Bell Tolls and his most outstanding short novel in 1952 The Old man and the Sea. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and today is still recognised as one of America’s greatest 20th century novelist. Sadly he committed suicide in 1961.

What is remarkable about Ernest Hemingway is his mastery of the ‘one true sentence’. Read any good newspaper today and most sentences are short.

It is said that Ernest Hemingway was once reported to have made a bet with companions that he could write a novel in six words. He asked each to put $10 in a pot, saying that if he could construct a story with a beginning, middle and end within the six-word limit he would win the pot; if not, he would pay each participant $10 each. On a napkin he wrote, “For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” His companions conceded the six words indeed told a story.

Then the Smith Magazine in the US, published an article that challenged readers to tell either their own or a story they developed in six words or less. The magazine received more than a million replies, some of which are quite interesting:

  • Wasn’t born a redhead; fixed that.
  • One tooth, one cavity, life’s cruel.
  • My second grade teacher was right.
  • We walked barefoot in wet cement.
  • (And one I like:) What’s broken can always be rebuilt.

These are very simple statements, and yet so many people took part. Could you tell your life story in six words or less?

When I looked at this six-word statement, What’s broken can always be rebuilt, I thought, Yes, this is true. It’s not easy. You may have been hurt or crushed by life’s experience, whatever it was. And you may say I’m never going to trust another human being again. I’d prefer to trust my dog. You may be at a place of inner pain and hurt—life brings with it the possibility of getting hurt. But we can learn to be stronger and develop strategies for repairing what is broken. Yet, even in spite of our best intentions, there will be times when we damage the level of trust in our relationships. Sometimes it’s due to our own stupidity when we make choices that we know are wrong or hurtful to others. And that can have devastating consequences.

Connect with a Heavenly Father

But there is a better way to look at this issue—what’s broken can always be rebuilt. And that is connecting with a loving Heavenly Father. There’s a great song by Matthew West called “All the Broken Pieces”. Part of the song says:

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‘Cause I can take even your greatest mistake
Every scar, every tear, every break
And I can turn it into something
More beautiful than you have ever seen.

When we hand over the reins to God, the most amazing thing happens. He takes those broken pieces and puts them back together into something more beautiful than we’ve ever seen. You see there is something special about people who have been broken. Rick Warren is a pastor of one of the world’s biggest churches, and hires staff. But he has a firm policy. Rick Warren refuses to hire people to work in his church unless they have been through significant challenges in their lives. He said on Facebook: “I only hire staff who’ve been hurt deeply. People who’ve never suffered tend to be shallow and smug about other’s pain.”

What an interesting observation, and I tend to agree with him. A broken soul knows what it’s like to struggle and feel pain. They can be great at helping another person going through a similar experience.

In the Old Testament we meet a man named Job who faced great loss and calamity. In one day, Job lost his 10 children along with all his possessions and wealth. Shortly after, he was afflicted with a horrible skin disease. (Read chapters 1-2 in the book of Job to get the full story.)

Job didn’t understand why he had to suffer so much. So, throughout the book of Job, we see him expressing heartache and anger at the pain and suffering God was allowing. We also see evidence of his impatience regarding how long it was taking God to bring about restoration. Yet through it all—and despite his human emotions—Job never doubted that full surrender and trust was necessary.

In Job 1:21b (NLT) he even says,

The LORD gave me what I had,
    and the LORD has taken it away.
Praise the name of the LORD!

Despite his suffering, he trusted God’s will for his life and continued to praise him. As a result, not only did Job’s faith soar, but his life did as well. Eventually in Job 42, we read how God blessed Job and his faithfulness in every way. Job 42:10b (NLT) says, “… the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before!” God gave Job a double portion of all he’d lost, restored his marriage and many relationships, gave him a new household of children and allowed him to live happily to a ripe old age.

Whether it’s our hearts, finances, relationships or lives that need mending, God always has a plan to heal and restore. Although I don’t know God’s exact plans for my future, I do know he is good, and he will do his work in my life—and yours, if you allow him.