Stories are powerful
I’ve sat through many different missions presentations lately. I should be able to tell you how many people in the world haven’t heard the name of Jesus, what the top missionary sending nations are, and the estimated size of the underground church in China. But to be honest, these numbers escape me. However, I can remember the stories of a Buddhist monk in Thailand meeting Jesus as the Bible was shared with him, of a migrant’s dream to return to his home nation and start a charity focused on mother and child healthcare, and of a missionary’s miraculous escape from a death sentence in Albania in the 1970‘s.
Stories ignite our imagination, bringing us near other lives through which we can explore our own. We listen, we imagine and we identify. Bypassing the mind, stories open us up from the inside out, drawing us close to see what they see and feel what they feel.
As Maya Angelou says, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I work in media and so I think about storytelling a lot, but only recently has God been challenging me about reading His word through the eyes of a storyteller. I have been looking at the Bible as a real life story of epic proportions, written by various authors over thousands of years through which God reveals His character to us. As I’ve read it like this, the stories have begun to both acknowledge that God is beyond all description, and yet they demonstrate clearly that God can still be known and understood.
I read stories such as when David killed the giant with a single stone and when Daniel was thrown into a pit of lions and survived, and I find myself amazed at the faithfulness of God. But I also find myself challenged. Challenged to believe that these aren’t just tales but truth. That the God in these stories is the same God that I serve now. That these miracles could just as easily be my miracles today.
And I don’t want to be one who just reads stories; I want to be one who lives them. I want to be someone who has endless tales about how God has remained faithful to me, how He has provided for me, how He performed miracles with me. And you know what? As I continue to follow Him and say yes to everything He asks of me I find my storybook growing. No longer do I struggle to think of how God has been faithful to me, but I find it hard to choose just one story to share. I have endless testimonies of the way that God has provided for me and for those I live amongst. I even have accounts of God’s miraculous power working through me and others.
Is your storybook growing? Have you been letting God write stories with you?