Good Stories

I’m drawn to a good story, whether it be in the form of a song or poem or novel or movie. I believe a good story is one in which I can identify myself and see part of my own story in the unfolding drama.

I’m reading through the Bible again, and I recognize myself all over the place. I can identify with the Israelites who are chosen as God’s people but often act as anything but God’s own possession.

I know what it’s like to want to go back to what’s comfortable and safe, even if that also happens to be bad for you and going backward rather than going forward.

I know what it’s like to be constantly tempted by idols and the surrounding culture bombarding you with images and messages that flatly contradict the message that God keeps trying to tell you.

I can fully relate to the many characters in the Bible whom God uses in spite of themselves, their weaknesses, their fears, their hang-ups. I had always been led to believe that people like Abraham and Isaac and Moses and Noah were the heroes in the stories.

That’s not true. God is always the hero of the biblical story. These are people who are only famous because God chose to use them. If God had never spoken to Moses from a burning bush, I doubt he’d be anything more than a very small footnote in the book of Exodus.

The Bible reminds me that what I need most is not to discover the inner warrior within me but rather to rely daily on the Warrior Savior who cherishes me and fights for me and never quits on me.

I’m beginning to understand the point of all the rules of the Old Testament. The point is that I’m supposed to look and act different as one of God’s people. I’m set apart. I’m not like everybody else and my story won’t play out like everybody else’s. That’s the point.

It’s not even really my story anymore. It’s God’s story that I get to be a part of.

I love that.

The end.

 

Who’s Who, Kairos-Style

Mike Glenn made an interesting point tonight at Kairos.

When you think of the great heroes of the faith in the Old Testament, your mind immediately goes to Noah, Abraham, and David among others.

But who were these people before God called them? Would anybody have ever heard of them if God hadn’t chosen them?

Noah might have lived out his life in anonymity. Abraham might have stayed in his parents’ basement and never left his hometown. David? His own father forgot that he was one of his sons, so that probably wouldn’t have amounted to much.

The old saying goes that God doesn’t call the equipped as much as He equips the called.

Look at Zachariah and Elizabeth. They were just another old couple, one who was a priest and another who was a woman who was barren. Probably not too uncommon in those days.

Still, God chose them to bring John the Baptist into the world.

If I had a takeaway from tonight, it’d be this: if God can use Noah, Abraham, and David, then He can use you. He can take your life and use it to make a difference in the lives around you. He can make your life matter.

The best example is a poor carpenter and his teenage wife-to-be. Their names? Mary and Joseph? God chose them and though they may not have understood everything, they said YES to God’s plan for their lives.

The result? A Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Jesus.

Who knows how far God will take your YES to Him? Who knows where the ripples from your small acts of obedience will end? Who knows but that people you’ve never heard of and may never meet in this lifetime may reap the rewards of your faithfulness, even though it seems like nothing to you.

It may take nine months (as in the case of Zachariah and Elizabeth) or nine years or 40 years. Keep moving forward, keep being obedient, and keep being faithful to what you know God is telling you to do and be.

Don’t give up. God is faithful.