I’ve always loved a good story. My dad used to make them up for us at bedtime, we read scores of them growing up and traveled to far away worlds in our hearts and minds, we’ve made them up for each other on long road trips. Sometimes we played that game where each person makes one part of a story and you end up with a bunch of weird, funny nonsense. This morning in church, I was reminded by the pastor’s message that we’re all living a story.
In a good story you’ll find a character, or characters, facing and doing what they can to overcome obstacles to achieve something, to reach a desired outcome. You know, protagonist, antagonist, plot, setting, climax, resolution of conflict, and more.
What type of story are you living in? How about me?
Some people are stuck living bad stories. They’re fooled into believing they are playing a role of loser, worthless, hopeless, lost, and so on. They face trials with no help, they enjoy brief moments of pleasure with no lasting fulfillment. Emptiness. Bad story.
The devil tries to make us believe that the story he writes is the easy and best one but it’s the ultimate tragedy and doesn’t even offer a worthy or interesting plot. He also lies to us when we want to live in God’s story, telling us we can’t or aren’t worthy. “You don’t deserve that kind of story. You can’t really have that type of life, that type of ending. Others may live it out but you won’t.”
The Author of all true and good stories has a different message for us. “Come here. Would you please step into this story I’m writing just for you? Yes, it’s for you. You don’t even know all that waits ahead in the chapters to come but it’s going to be good. Yes, it will be hard sometimes. It’s no fairy tale. But I won’t stop writing it until the very end and I love you. Live in my story.”
I know that voice. I want to listen to Him. I’ve fallen prey to the devil’s lies sometimes, thinking maybe God got sidetracked recently when writing our story and is taking a prolonged coffee break. Or maybe it’s not as exciting or fulfilling as we hoped it would be, so we should just settle. Maybe my dreams for the plot and outcome were too big, my hopes too grand. I don’t want to listen to those lies anymore. I want to believe that the story God has placed us in is truly wonderful, ultimately good, beyond our ability to write or imagine, and more.
The band “The Afters” has a great song with these lyrics,
We are words on pages that we’ve left unturned
An ending no one’s ever heard
We are the story, slowly unfolding, beautiful words
WE are the story. All of us who have heard Jesus’ voice and stepped into the roles God has for us. Like the pastor said this morning, we need to tell those around us who are caught living a bad story that there’s a better one available to them: a story that will fulfill them, a story that brings them purpose, healing, and hope. When we’re living in the good story of God and His love shown to us through Jesus, we become beautiful words God is writing.
And everyone deserves to live in a good story.
(Special thanks to Pastor Matt for the food for thought)