Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Tell Me A Story

A few days ago, I almost missed my flight out of Orlando. 

But that’s just one sentence. That’s not the story of what happened. The story would take a few minutes to share, and believe me, it’s a crazy story. Thankfully, it has a happy ending – I did make it on the plane, though miraculously, in answer to people’s prayers. 

So now you know that I almost missed the flight, but I did in fact make it. But you still don’t know the story. 

I think you'd agree that we all love stories. As children, we drank in stories. As teens, we were constantly telling stories. As adults, we still need stories (books, movies, etc.). I honestly can’t imagine what life would be like without stories. Can you? 

On that flight (the one I almost didn’t make it on), I sat next to a Navy veteran…but he didn’t say a word for the first twenty minutes of the flight. Then I turned to him and I jokingly said, “Thanks for saving this seat for me.” The next thing I knew, he was showing me photos on his phone of an aircraft carrier, of his old Navy buddies at their last reunion, of the old ships he used to be on, and even his classic car. During the rest of the flight, he shared some of his stories with me. And I felt grateful to be able to hear them. 

But what do stories require? 

Time. Attention. Listening. Imagination. Empathy. 

To really enjoy and benefit from a story, we need these things. And in today’s world, these things are often in short supply in our lives…at least that’s how it feels. 

When I was a child, we had a record (yes, a record) with children’s Bible stories on it. There was a group of children and a woman called “Aunt Bee.” At the beginning of each story, the kids would say. "Tell us a story, Aunt Bee!" And she would reply, "All right children, I will tell you a story." I find it significant that those opening lines still replay in my mind all these years later. 

“Tell me a story!” “All right, I will tell you a story.” 

But why tell a story? 

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.” (Psalm 107:1-2 NIV)

What is the Bible? It is the story of God creating, loving, saving, and restoring His creation. 

What are testimonies? They are stories of things God has done, ways we have experienced Him in our lives. 

God-stories are something we need to share, and something we need to receive. 

I’d like to tell more stories of what God has done in my life. I’d like to hear more stories of how God has worked in other people’s lives. Both of these encourage me, strengthen my faith, help me see things more clearly, and ultimately help me go deeper in intimacy with Jesus. 

And both of these require time, attention, listening, imagination, and empathy – from me and from you. 

Do you ever feel like you have stories to tell of God’s faithfulness, if only people wanted to listen? Sometimes the people you least expect to listen, are the ones who need your story the most. 

Do you wish you could take more time to hear other people’s stories? Sometimes people who don't know God need someone who will listen to their story, before they’re ready to hear the greatest story, of Jesus’ love for them.

In our fast-paced world, we can tend to focus on facts, data, and the bottom line. But those things aren’t meaningful unless they’re placed in the context of a story.

If you ask me, I’ll tell you the story about almost missing the plane. =) But more importantly, I'd like to be more intentional about telling my God-stories and about inviting other people to share their stories with me. Because God is good. And we are part of His story, that I imagine will continue to be told throughout eternity. 

So, will you tell me a story? 

What is something God has done in your life in 2019? 

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story….” (Psalm 107:1-2 NIV)

P.S. I'll be sharing some of my God-stories from 2019 on my Facebook page this month, if you'd like to hear them. And you can share your stories there as well. =)

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