Telling Stories


It's a word with a lot of meanings and uses. 
We tell stories. We read stories. People referred to their soap operas as "afternoon stories" (anyone else??). We ask children not to tell stories when we mean we don't want them to lie. For centuries, entire histories of civilizations were passed down through story. Our favorite shows and movies envelop us in stories. Much of what we learn in school and church is told through story.

Stories are extremely important to us as a society, as people. They are inescapable. And we love them. We love stories that draw us in, that transport us to another time or life, that inspire us to live better lives and be better people, where the hero (or heroine) wins and the day is saved, where lives and entire worlds are changed. Stories connect us to one another in a way nothing else does. In an ancient and foundational way, we come together as one through stories. They unite us in a mysterious way. This is so evident at the movies, where people of all different cultures, backgrounds, stories of their own come together to engage in one story. Together, sitting in that theater, we laugh, cry, get scared, anxious or angry, rejoice, and celebrate. When The Blind Side came out, people in theaters were cheering together at the end. Hundreds of people sat in silence at the end of American Sniper in theaters across the country. Stories are such a vital part of our humanity. 

At the end of The Horse and His Boy, the 3rd (and my favorite!) installment of The Chronicles of Narnia, there's a wonderful scene. After the Archenladers and Narnians defeat Prince Rabadash from Calormen, and after they figure out who Shasta really is (the long-lost Prince Cor of Archenland), they hold a celebratory feast: 

"...a grand feast that evening on the lawn before the castle, with dozens of lanterns to help the moonlight. And the wine flowed and tales were told and jokes were cracked, and then silence was made and the King's poet with two fiddlers stepped out into the middle of the circle...the poet sang the great old lay of Fair Olvin and how he fought the Giant Pire and turned him into stone...and won the lady Liln for his bride...and Lucy told again (they had all, except Aravis and Cor, heard it many times but they all wanted it again) the tale of the Wardrobe and how she and King Edmund and Queen Susan and Peter the High King had first come into Narnia..."

Storytelling happens a lot in Narnia, but this episode is probably my favorite. Because I imagine that's something like what we will do in heaven. We'll gather around tables, feasting and celebrating and honoring our King, rejoicing in all He has done. We'll tell stories of how we saw Him move, of His miracles, rescues, redemption. Of how He overcame and conquered. Of walls He tumbled, chains He broke, prisoners He set free, hearts He mended. Of the first time He met us where we were. We'll rejoice in who He is, and in the glorious ways He manifested Himself in His creation. All the stories will point to Him -- all the adventures, battles, miracles, everything. We'll see all the stories as one, telling His story. One story, told through millions of lives and events, that points to Him. Millions of stories that are all part of the One, most important Story that displays His glory and magnificence and grace. One Story, full of adventure, love, and purpose. So many stories that we'd never remember all of them, but that we want to hear over and over again, no matter how many times we had heard them before. Because all those stories display Him. 

We see a little of this in Scripture, I think, in the Gospels, which are all stories of Him. The writer of John tells us "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." So many stories. Too many to write down. Each one about Him, each one telling His story.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, because I've been reading a lot about living faithfully, about jumping into the unknowns of God's calling, about flying and freefalling, about what love means and how it acts. I've been pushed and challenged to live a faith that is bigger than fear, to live the life God ordained for me from the beginning, no matter what that means. Our lives tell stories. God wants our lives to tell His story, to be part of the telling of the Story to the world. We were brought into His family, we are His children, and our lives are meant to display that to those around us. 

What kind of story is my life telling? A wimpy one that no one wants to listen to? One that says, "Yeah, Jesus saved me, but then I just sat here because I was afraid"? One that doesn't display Him in all His splendor? Because God's not wimpy. And if I live a wimpy faith and wimpy life, I'm not telling the story He means me to tell. 
Or am I going to look fear (or whatever it may be) in the face and say, "You look big and bad, but my God is bigger than you. My God is God. And He says jump. Run. Laugh. Live. He says He has overcome, that you have no place here, fear. He says He'll catch me, walk with me, live with me. There's nothing you can do to me, fear, because my God wins. Everytime. Always."
Will I live a life that tells His story? That says He is Love, Adventure, Grace, Redemption, Strength, Glory? 

Everyone's story is different, and it's supposed to be. God means us to be unique while unified as one body, as crazy and difficult as it is to live that. We are one in Him, but He designed us so that our individuality tells His story, makes up His story in a magnificent, mysterious, and beautiful way. 

What stories will we tell, friends? What stories of God will we live? 


Nick Strube said…
Yes! Our lives are a tapestry. The underside is knotted and twisted but that's what makes the masterpiece everyone gets to see.
brooke said…
Such a beautiful (and difficult at times) reality, Nick!!

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