“Story” has become some sort of buzzword. You can Instagram your story, at least flickers of the highlights. You can buy a copy of The Story, a version of the Bible sold by Zondervan that tells the “continuing story of God and his people.” As postmodern era people we’ve been told that truth is our narrative and any meta-narrative that claims to be the only truth is simply a bid for power. Postmodernism labels the Bible, Quran, and any other holy book or religion as meta-narratives to be avoided–the big story trying to take over your story.
As a Bible reader, I’ve chosen to submit to the meta-narrative, the grand story that is God’s. I actually want His story to encompass my story, because I believe it already does. In fact, I’m eager to find ways to use my life story to make known God’s wonderful redemption story.
For in the Greek “meta” means “beyond” and the story of the Bible speaks beyond the story of its pages. When I read the story of Sarah, I recall my own impatience with God. Why can’t I have what I want now? Then, Sarah speaks, “Look at what a mess I made with my life when I ran ahead of God. It caused relationship conflict for the rest of my life.”
I can’t see the rest of my story, but I really want to! (I confess that an author has to be really good to convince me to not read the last chapter before the rest of the book. Perhaps this reflects a deep-set character flaw.)
Just like I should savour the details of a book as I read each page, so I need to enjoy the details of my story now. One of the powerful ways to do this is to become comfortable with telling my story and become intrigued by the stories being written around me. What does that young mother want for her children? How did that woman become a writer of as-it-happens world stories? How did this little Mennonite lady inspire a gigantic smorgasbord?
To often, we feel our insignificance, because we fail to recognize the significant movements of God within our stories. When we tell our stories, we see Him moving. When we refuse to tell our stories, we reflect the belief that our stories aren’t worth hearing. We are afraid to be vulnerable, because their are gigantic pieces of my story that make us look bad–make others look bad.
Yet I believe that our stories are given to us–the one guaranteed talent from our Creator that we are to invest for Him. Every anecdote speaks of God Himself. As Dan Rutt says, “The whole story is moving in the direction of a person.” (hear more from him here) We need to claim and tell with dignity our stories–even the ugly parts. When we acknowledge the ugly, we come face-to-face with the curse, the lie that tarnished the Garden of Eden. Really, the ugly in our story proves that chapter of God’s story.
If He got that right, why not trust the rest of His story like: “all things work together for good,” “lo, I am with you always,” “I will never leave you, nor forsake you,” and “He that has begun a good work in you will continue it until the day of Christ.”