The Big God Story

Children love stories.  They love to be told a good story, to read a good story, and to watch a good story.  I love reading to my children and often, when it is a really good story, I will find myself reading the same book over and over and over until both my kids and I can quote it word for word.  The power of a good story really cannot be underestimated – it is what makes for a book you come back to again and again and what makes for the movie that you would watch over and over again.

Think about it.  The Harry Potter Series of books has 4,100 pages and when it was released thousands of children, very young children, were picking it up and reading cover to cover  –  all 4,100 pages!  Last summer I read the “Hunger Games” series and found that I could not put it down till I plowed through all 3 books in less than 2 weeks.  That is the power of a good story to captivate your attention.  If you aren’t into books ask yourself, how many times have you seen “Star Wars” or “Lord of the Rings” or “Rocky”?  I can’t see ” The Shawshank Redemption” or “Rudy” on the TV guide and not stop and watch.  I’ve seen all these movies multiple times and still I am captivated by the story.  Wes recently introduced the kids to “Star Wars” and they are entranced by the story and incensed at the revelation of Luke’s paternity demanding that evil not win out (they haven’t seen “Return of the Jedi” yet.)

My point is that stories are powerful and the most powerful ones are the ones that tell the story of good vs evil where evil seems like it just might win until the hero/savior arrives and makes everything good.  All the books and movies I’ve mentioned bear that as their guiding theme – Good vs Evil.  Have you ever asked yourself why we are entranced by this?  I think that is because all of these stories echo the themes of the Big God Story told in the Bible.  From cover to cover the Bible is a story of God’s relentless love for humanity and God’s commitment to redeem all creation.  It is a story of the greatest good ever and how evil has tried to battle the good.  Sometimes the good seems to be winning, but then evil gets an upper hand and then just when all seems lost, THE Savior comes and decisively wins the battle and good wins for eternity.  All other stories are echos of this story and while they are great stories, the Big God Story has one thing they don’t  because the Big God Story is not only captivating – it is TRUE!

Michelle Anthony writes that not only is this story true,  “Each one of us is truly part of it.  It’s my story too, and I get to play a part.  I choose whose team I’m on, and then I cheer on my team all the way through the story.  It doesn’t begin when I’m born and end when I die.  The story keeps on going until God says it’s time to end it.  When it ends, we will all be there to witness it!  We will all come together and spend eternity worshiping Him and telling how our life played a part in the Big God Story.  It is a story about God.  It’s all about Him.  I play a part.” (p. 54-55)

I grew up in church and heard all the stories of the Bible – Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Ruth,  Jesus, Peter, Paul, etc, but it was not until I got to seminary that someone put all the stories together for me so that I could see the whole story.  I loved all the distinct stories but I never got the big picture- the Big God Story God was trying to share.  I bet I’m not alone in that experience and I’m guessing many of you feel like you have never gotten the full picture.  As parents sometimes we can feel very inadequate to share a story that we aren’t sure we know well enough ourselves, and in the face of our inadequacy we can abdicate all responsibility and give up trying.  I surely understand that impulse, but if we want to be faithful spiritual parents who are sharing the greatest story of good’s triumph over evil  then we are going to have to move beyond our fear of our own ignorance and feeling of incompetence and get into our Bible (alone or in a good study group) and learn the Big God Story for ourselves.  We need to teach children’s Sunday School even if we aren’t sure we know the story – we can still learn!   We need to step up and teach our own Sunday School class and say, “I don’t know but let’s find out together!”  We need to read the “Jesus Storybook Bible” to our kids every night, one story a night beginning at the beginning and helping our children understand the stories in their context.  We need to learn that we have a part in the story – that God is still telling the story of His relentless love through our lives.  It is captivating and life changing and best of all, it is TRUE!

Happy Reading!

Pastor Toni Ruth

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