Good stories… Told well. Whether it is book, a movie, or a TV show, my interest in narrative is always guided by that principle. It must be a good story. It must be told well. Authors who use beautiful, engaging words. Screenwriters who understand the power of a substantial story and well-written dialogue. The cast and crew of a show or film that know how to bring the story to life and delve into the deepest parts of human existence, even touching on a relationship with God. What it means to love. To serve. To sacrifice everything for the sake of goodness and life and healthy freedom. If a bit of media is going to capture my attention and hold it, it has to be a good story, told well.
While I enjoy hearing the stories of other people's lives, God continues to nudge me in the direction of living a beautiful story myself. I may not have the adventurous life of some of my favorite characters and heroes, both fictional and historical, but God has given me a story to live, and He has a story for you to live, too. It’s all a part of His greater, overarching narrative by which He is constantly calling all of creation back to Himself. When we have eyes to see and hearts to perceive His action in the midst of ours, it can be a stunning revelation or a place of deep-seated comfort and rest. Your story may not be as exciting as the lives of others, but God has given you a part to play in His story, and He’s a screenwriter, producer, and director who will never allow your story to fall flat.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live my life by proxy. I don't want to live vicariously through others. I keep on getting a nudge from God (sometimes a quite forceful one!) to get out there and live the adventure to which He has called me. To put my fears of failure aside. To trust that He is capable of making inconsequential actions and decisions into powerful moments of His kingdom breaking through. To dare to live a life worthy of imitation, one worth remembering and telling about in years to come.
We all look for ways to leave something of worth behind for those who come after us. We want to be remembered in positive ways. With our lives connected to the life of Jesus, by the power of His Spirit living in us today, we can touch the lives of people around us in ways that are significant and lasting. It’s not always going to be easy because the way of Jesus always leads to the cross, but we can find deep comfort in the promise from Him that we'll never go it alone. The disciples who follow Jesus in His earthly life couldn’t have possibly known the adventure story they were about to embark on when they responded to Jesus' calling to follow Him. Not much has changed in that respect. If we are to follow Jesus fervently and faithfully wherever He leads us, it’s going to be a life worth living and a story worth telling.
I firmly believe that every corner of creation was designed by the Creator to point us back to Him. The first few verses of Psalm 19 express this beautifully: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world" (Ps. 19:1-4, CSB). Every part of the story reveals His providence and His plan to restore everything that sin and death destroys.
There are certainly some strange and peculiar parts of God's story that are recorded. A few of them we might be surprised to find in Scripture. But God has left them there on purpose to get our attention and draw us back to His heart, to teach us things we need to understand, but more importantly to drive us to follow in His footsteps. To take the adventure He sends us. To live a story worth telling under His grand narrative of redemption. I pray that as we examine some of these peculiar stories and connect it back to the heart of God and the great good news of Jesus' death and resurrection, you will be inspired to live the powerful story that God has for all who venture to follow in Jesus' footsteps.
Am I always ready to embrace that story wholeheartedly and dive in headfirst? I’d like to think I am. Some days I feel more confident than others. God is still working on me, nudging me. But I’m confident that He will work even through my weaknesses and doubts to bring about a story worth telling, because…
Adventure is out there! Lead on, Master Adventurer!