I am sitting at a coffee shop as I type this and on the wall is a sign … Fuel YOUR Story. Just this past Sunday we talked about our story and when we answer the “So what” of our story ... we can share the “What’s so” of the larger story of God. I hope that you are thinking about your story intersecting with the larger metanarrative of God’s story. Stories are a powerful and poignant way to show a truth, principle or cause us to think deeply about a problem. The Bible is filled with stories that connect ancient truths to modern life. We all need to be reminded that life has not changed much since man was created. Sure, the context of the story has changed, but the stories are much the same. Every story has …
- A Protagonist. The protagonist is the main character of a story. This is usually the personification of good.
- An Antagonist. This is a character in the story actively opposing or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary.
- Inciting Action. This is the beginning of the story, the exposition of the characters and setting in the motion the story itself.
- Conflict. This is where we see the battle between good and evil. We see evil win, good come back, evil win, good prevail … over and over. Battle won, battle lost, back and forth with all the subplots and twists and turns.
- Resolution or climax. How will it end? Will the good guys win? Lose? We hang on, believing, longing, wanting good to prevail and then, it happens - the right is wrong, evil is defeated and many times, we can see a sequel in the making.
Take the creation narrative in Genesis. It begins with God, the protagonist. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, speaking into being all the world. God creates humankind in His image and he pronounces over all creation, it is good! God is with us in the garden we are with Him. It is perfect!
In comes Satan, the antagonist, an ancient enemy who was the fallen angel Lucifer, the rebellious one, the deceiver, angel of light, prince of this world and all that is anti-god. He is against all that is good, loving, just and beautiful.
Then the story begins, the inciting action comes forth. Satan comes on the scene in the form of a slithering serpent hissing his way into the pure, innocent and sinless minds of Adam and Eve … and they begin to listen and then they doubt and then they … it is like watching a movie in slow motion and we all know what is going to happen and as it slowly unfolds before our eyes, we say “Noooooo, don’t do iiiiiiit.” But it is too late. They fall into the trap of the enemy and die. Yes, they spiritually die. It is as if in a split second, the world went from beautiful vivid Technicolor to stark black and white. All that was light and beauty was now dark and gloomy. The world fell under the consequences of a singular act of rebellion.
The conflict between God and Satan is on! The prize ... humanity! Who will save us from our pain, our prison, and our punishment? God calls forth a people to be his people who will defeat evil and restore the reign and rule of God to the earth once more. There are people, priests, prophets and kings all fighting to have dominion. Evil rules and reigns and there is a battle between all that is good and evil. Back and forth the battle rages and then the prophets tell of a savior, a messiah who will save the people from their punishment, will set them free from their prison and will heal them of their pain. He will be one who will rescue, restore and redeem. And so we wait for a redeemer and along the way, God reminds us of who He is and what our relationship to Him is to be. We rediscover our story in His great love for us and we wait. And again, along the way, there is story after story that teaches us that God is for us not against us. That He is mighty to save. That He is our fortress and shelter in times of storms. He is God and there is no one other than Him. He gives us a way to live in relationship to Him and the world around us so that we might be light in the darkness to all nations, a blessing to the world. And we wait …
Then the climax, the resolution, just when our imprisonment and pain are almost unbearable, we see Him off in the distance, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. His teachings shake up all convention; His life breaks all stereo types; His love destroys all the walls that our sin has erected. And just when we are ready for insurrection, an overthrow of all that is oppressive and unjust in this world, our messiah, our savior is crucified. We watch as our hope escapes us with His last breath. We weep; we can’t believe that our only hope is gone and we watch as the enemy laughs, mocks and celebrates his victory. But God … that is where the story turns. But God, great in His mercy had another plan, for in that moment, Jesus, fully God and fully man, gave His life willingly to meet the demands of justice, to pay for our sins and three days later, the enemies laughter was turned to shock and our wailing to rejoicing as the grave was defeated and death could not hold Him and our savior rose from the death … His is alive! We are alive; our hope is alive; our faith is alive; our dreams are alive. We are set free from the law of sin and death. We are no longer lost but are found; we are no longer blind but now we see; we are no longer without faith, hope and love.
But that is not the end of the story … Because everyday lives are born and die without knowing the story of their redemption. They have lived or are living in the black and white prison walls of sin, pain and perpetual separation from God their creator, God their father who longs for them to know of His great love for them and what He has done to redeem and rescue them.
Your mission, should you decide to accept it … is to tell your story and the story. Tell your so what and what’s so. This is my story; this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.