Over these last few months I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading about stories. It seems there is quite a bit of chatter about stories and storytelling in both academic and social circles and how important they are..how they inform our lives, our identity.
Just think of all the stories that have influenced your life.
Your birth story.
The story of your family. Your ancestors.
The stories of race and gender and ability.
The stories that you learned in school.
The stories of the age in which you live.
The stories of the songs you listen to.
The stories of the earth and your environment.
The stories that are a part of the community you live in, the country that you make home.
The stories of your close circle of friends.
The stories of random strangers you meet.
The stories of your teen years.
The stories your parents and grandparents tell you.
The stories ‘religion’ tells you.
The stories of your workaday life.
The stories you hear from the media.
The stories that you have read or others have read to you.
The stories that your culture screams at you.
The stories of history. Of your government.
The stories of your peers and your elders.
The stories that you tell.
The stories that you don’t tell.
The stories people tell about you.
Yet so many of the stories that influence us, shape us, and in a way, create us, are not complete. Or they are ugly. Or painful. Or untrue. Or unfair. Or hopeless. Or dark.
I have come to realize that we have a tendency to believe stories people tell about us or that we tell about ourselves even if they are untrue. Even if they are damaging.We hold them closely whether we know it or not.
I used to believe the stories that I was responsible for someone’s death in a horrific car accident. That the people who called me a loser in high school might be right. That God didn’t like me or that he had it out for me. That I would never be ‘good enough’ to please Him.
Oh wait. Actually, that last one? That’s actually a story that’s true. I will never be able to be ‘good enough’ to please Him. That is the ugly yet profound truth. NEVER. Not on my own.
(for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God)
BUT. There is this story I heard. When I was about 7 or 8. Good news is what they called it, and it’s true, it is good news…I’ll never forget it and it’s a story that changed my life. That’s still changing my life.
A Story to end all stories. Or rather, begin.
One in which God himself wrote.
One of new life, a new identity, a new story, one of forgiveness and redemption, joy unspeakable…a life where I don’t have to strive, where I am forgiven
and even though I stumble, though I am not perfect, though I still struggle with sin and doubts and fears, though there is still pain and suffering and heartache,
He accepts me. Just as I am. With what little faith I have.
And He loves me. Not because of anything I have done to earn it, but because of who He is and what He has done.
And He invites me (and you) to share in his Story. To live it. Life to the full.
He is a Redeemer of stories. And His Story is one I want with me till the day I die.
Cuz guess what? It doesn’t end there. It’s neverending. And I’ve never heard of a story like that before.