Why “story” matters

Categorized as  faith,  story, encouragement

We’d traveled to another town to hear a concert with friends, and it was on the way home that the conversation took a turn.  We’d been talking the whole evening about the trial by fire that they’d just come through, what we’d been through and were still walking, and how the Lord was working it out, what He’d done, and what we were, each of us, still waiting for Him to do.

Theirs had been four years in the making.  Four.long.years.  Four years of desert paths that included cancer, business challenges, and other things too painful to speak of publicly.  Now, the path had turned.  They were coming out on this side of it all, just cresting the hill into a far greener place of life and joy and prayers answered.

“How,” I asked, needing to know, “did you feel during that time?”

“I felt,” she said it straight, “like I was just one little person down here and that God had forgotten me.”  Ah, yes.   “And that none of my prayers mattered.  That He wasn’t hearing them.”  In the darkness, I nodded my head, understanding.  “I knew in my heart that He hadn’t forgotten, but it sure felt like He did.”

“What was the big thing you learned, the take-away in all of that?”  Leaning forward, listening, needing to know…

“That it’s all about God’s timing.  It certainly wasn’t mine.  But it was all about His.”  Yes.  Wasn’t that where frustration and impatience were bound to come in, when my expectations collided with His divine plan…

“And how about you?” I turned to her husband, stalwart friend of my own.  “What’s your big one?”

He chuckled.  “There are far too many to pick just one.  We learned so very much.  But in looking at it, I can see how God was faithful in it all, providing what was needed.”  And he listed it out, how God had done this and this and that right here, here and there when the fire had rained down and the river had nearly overflowed its banks.

And now.  The breakthroughs were coming.  Victory sweet.  Blessings galore, and He’d been faithful.

Hearing their story with all its twists and turns, light and dark, day and night, mourning and joy, all those threads tangled up and knotted together…something in me eased.  Something long coiled, relaxed just a bit.  My spirit lifted, faith infused in hearing how He’d dealt with them.

And that’s the power of “story.”  This is exactly why “story,” yours and mine, matters.  Matters deeply.

In the telling of it just as it is – nothing whitewashed, nothing glossed over – it sets a stone just like the Israelites did.  One stone upon another, upon another, upon another, a glorious monument to the character and faithfulness of Father God.

We need “story.”  The one who’s lived it needs to tell it and so give praise, and the one who’s listening needs to hear it to keep the faith, to keep on walking and not to faint.

You have a story.  If you’re drawing breath and living here, you have a story to tell.  It need not be big and dramatic, just a simple account of how God came through when it mattered and how He never fails.  You need to tell it.  Ask Him where, ask Him how, and He’ll give the grace and courage needed.  You’ll be surprised at what a difference it will make, both in you and in the one who hears it.

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